Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce submitted by Debbie Cline
Not sure where this recipe originated, but my mother only fixed it once a year — on my father’s birthday! (I’m not sure why because it’s easy to make; maybe just because he loved it so much, it was more special saving it for his birthday). We always had to have the little party rye bread with it, and it was not easy to find in our town. Back in the day, we used the Parmesan out of the can, as it was all that was available. Since my dad’s passing, I fix these more than once a year, and too often just prepare the meatballs and use purchased sauce in a bottle. Not nearly as good, though. When I was trying to write this recipe down — because none of the women in that day used recipes — my mother astounded me by telling me how much spice to add to begin with, then she’d smell the sauce to see if it needed more. She even did this with the SALT! She never ever taste tested anything, it was all done by smell. Our family enjoyed this recipe while the children were growing up and one of them has requested the recipe to prepare for her family! And so the tradition continues!
Make sure you pair it with my Easy Garlic Bread recipe too!
- 1 pound ground beef (at least 80% lean)
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup soft bread crumbs
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Tablespoons fat
- 3 cups chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced (or more according to personal taste)
- 1 #2-1/2 can tomatoes, strained, saving juice (3-1/2 cups)
- 2-6 ounce cans tomato paste
- 1-4 ounce can mushrooms with liquid
- 1-1/2 teaspoon salt (I use less, about 1 teaspoon)
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crumbled between palms
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 3 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (about a heaping ½ teaspoon dry)
- 4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Combine all ingredients except fat; mix lightly until well mixed.
- Shape into medium sized meatballs.
- Melt fat in large skillet, add meatballs and cook, turning frequently to brown on all sides are brown. Meatballs need not be completely done in center.
- Note: Often, I brown the meatballs on a rack in the oven, turning several times, then use a couple of Tablespoons of oil for cooking the onions/garlic. You can also cook the meatballs until completely done, then freeze, taking out just how many you think you'll use for a particular meal. I have tried making them into large meatballs, and we didn't like them as well.
- Remove meatballs and set aside.
- Drain excess grease from skillet you used to brown meatballs, but leave all those yummy browned bits of meat.
- Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until partially tender.
- Add remaining ingredients except not baking soda. Cook and stir until it comes to a short boil. Add saved juice from tomatoes until proper consistency (I usually add all of it).
- Add meatballs; cover and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. After an hour or so, check sauce and if it's not thick enough, continue cooking without the lid until thickness that you like. While sauce is simmering, cook up the spaghetti.
- Just before serving, add baking soda to sauce and mix well. (This will foam up then die back down) (I have occasionally forgot to add the baking soda and it still comes out fine).