Nonna's Secret Sauce & Meatballs

June 11, 2019

 

 

Good thing Nonna doesn't have Instagram, Wi-Fi, or even a computer or else she might be coming after us for sharing her recipe with the world. Her sauce is THAT good, though. As most of you know, we are Italian and try to be very in touch with our heritage. We always are making efforts to learn more about our culture and carry on traditions, one of which being our grandma's authentic recipes.

 

Our dad is 100p Italian. His parents immigrated to the U.S. from Agrigento, Sicily shortly before he was born in Brooklyn. Our grandmother has always been an amazing cook, and if you individually asked all of her children and grandchildren to try and pin point why, all of us would mention the fact that she makes EVERY. SINGLE. THING from scratch. Like, if there's lemons, she using the ones she's growing in her backyard. Pasta? Never store-bought. Made by hand.

 

So, cooking Nonna's recipes can seem daunting (some of them are insanely daunting indeed), but, we were shocked to know that her famous sauce and meatballs are surprisingly simple, which is something consistent with all of the best authentic Italian food-- fresh and simple (note that this recipe isn't complicated but the sauce does cook for a while). Considering her English is broken, and she hasn't measured anything for years, getting recipes from her can be difficult... but we've made this one many of times, gone back to her to ask questions, watch her make it, and make edits to get the recipe as close to her making her perfect, flavorful sauce for us.

 

 

 

Now, she probably would be appalled, but we most often eat this with Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi, lentil pasta, or zucchini noodles, although we will indulge in some real deal pasta every now and then. We also don't always do the meatballs, as we don't eat much meat (or any for Lauren), so rest assured you can also just make the sauce on it's own, too!

 

FUN FACT: "Scarpetta" literally means "little shoe" in Italian, but it actually refers to the tradition of using a piece of bread to "walk across your plate" to mop up any remaining sauce left after you've finished your meal. This is a common Italian practice and for sure going to be one you'll want to adopt once you try this sauce!

 

 

 

 

 

**NOTE: Another thing about Nonna is that she cooks to feed an army. This recipe makes about 32 meatballs and lots of sauce, so it feeds about 10-16 people. It does keep well in the freezer, or simply cut the recipe in half or even fourth.**

 

Meatballs

Ingredients:

1 lbs ground beef

1 lb veal

1 lb ground pork

4 eggs

1 cup bread crumbs

3/4 C cup Romano cheese

Pinch baking soda

Salt and pepper to taste

Garlic powder to taste

1-1.5 cup water


 

Instructions:

1. In a very large bowl, combine the meats, eggs, and about 3/4- 1 C of the water, and mix.

2. Add bread crumbs, cheese, baking soda, salt and pepper, and mix.

3. Add more water (another 1/4- 1/2 or so) and mix.

4. Refrigerate until ready to bake.

5. Bake in oven at 350 for about 25 minutes.

6. Add to sauce

 

**NOTE: Another thing about Nonna is that she cooks to feed an army. This recipe makes about 32 meatballs and lots of sauce, so it feeds about 10-16 people. It does keep well in the freezer, or simply cut the recipe in half or even fourth.**

 

Sauce

Ingredients:

1 onion

1/3 cup olive oil

4-6 cloves of garlic

1 large can tomato sauce

2 small cans tomato paste

1 can stewed tomatoes

Water- about 5 cans or more if needed**

Salt and pepper to taste

Rosemary to taste

Basil to taste

3 Tbsp sugar

pinch of baking soda

optional 1/2 C Parmesan cheese

 

**water should be added can by can, so as you open and add the contents of a can, you fill that can with water and add that in as well.

 

Instructions:

1. Put oil in a very large pot, with onion and garlic on medium heat.

2. Add tomato paste, fill each can with water and add, then stir for 5-7 min or until oil is absorbed.

3. Add tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes. Fill their cans with water, plus one additional can of water, and add.

4. Add salt pepper, rosemary, and basil.

5. Reduce heat to lowest level.

6. Add about 3 teaspoons of sugar and just a pinch of baking soda.

7. Let sauce come to a light bubble without the lid or the lid cracked open and simmer for 1.5- 2 hours.

8. Option to add the parmesean cheese to the sauce.

9. Add meatballs in, and simmer on the lowest heat for another hour.

 

 

 



 

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