Italian meatballs in tomato sauce - the meal I enjoyed most as a child. Every Sunday my grandmother would wake at the crack of dawn to start her sauce, she called it gravy, loaded with meatballs and other assorted meat. I cannot think of a better smell to wake up to! The way she made it is the way my mother makes it, the way I make it, and the way my kids will make it when I'm long gone. And, hopefully, my family legacy will grace some of your dinner tables as well.
My Grandma's sauce included pork and beef meatballs, beef braciole, Italian sausages (hot and sweet), and pork chops.
She started the sauce early and allowed it to simmer all day long.
She always made a lot of it. Like a ton.
Extra sauce would often be used for stuffed shells, manicotti, baked ziti, and Lasagna.
Half the time this Sunday gravy was used for chicken parmigiana while the other half a quick marinara was used.
I can still remember waking up on Sunday mornings to the smell of her sauce.
There was nothing like it. It took a lot of willpower to not sneak a taste every hour or so.
This is the dish that so many Italian-American families eat every Sunday. And many of us have our own version - we hope you enjoy ours!
Sunday sauce instructions
Note: Each number in the pics corresponds to the numbered directions.
- Dice one medium onion.
- In a large bowl empty the cans of the plum tomatoes. If you can't fit all the tomatoes, just work in batches.
- With clean hands, crush the tomatoes with one hand and use the other to shield any splatter. If you don't want to do this, pulse them in a blender for 2-3 seconds.
- In a large pot (large enough to accommodate 120 ounces of sauce and 2 pounds of meatballs), coat the bottom with a ½ cup of olive oil. Turn the heat to medium-low setting.
- Add in the onion and cook until just translucent. Avoid browning the onions and if necessary turn down the heat.
- Add in one 6-ounce can of tomato paste and spread it around the bottom of the pan.
- After about 5 minutes, the paste will start to redden the oil.
- Add in all the hand-crushed tomatoes, a ½ tsp of sugar, ½ tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp of kosher salt. Stir it all together and keep the sauce cooking at a very light simmer. Cover with a lid, leaving it slightly ajar. Every so often, (approximately every 15-30 minutes), stir the sauce to avoid any sticking.
So that's the sauce. It's nice to get it going and then turn to the task of making the meatballs.
Just stir it occasionally and keep the heat low. It needs to cook really slowly.
Tasting note: Our recipe is light on the spice rack herbs. Everyone has their own version, but we believe that excellent quality tomatoes and meatballs are the stars of this dish. When it comes to spices and herbs, less is definitely more here.
This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. A lobster pot is a great convenience when making a large Italian Sunday dinner like this for a group.
If you don't have one just get several smaller pots going.
Meatballs: step by step instructions
Note: You do not need to both bake and fry the meatballs. Choose only one of the two methods outlined below.
- Grate ¾ cup of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or use already grated cheese.
- Mince a ½ cup of fresh parsley.
- Make garlic paste out of 3 garlic cloves with the back of your knife like this or use a garlic press.
- Add the beef and pork to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with a ½ tsp black pepper and 2 tsp of kosher salt.
- Crack 2 large eggs into a mixing bowl and mix well.
- Add the fresh chopped parsley, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic paste, and breadcrumbs to the meat mixture.
- Dry mix all the ingredients with your hands. Mix well but avoid over mixing.
- Add in the beaten eggs and again mix together. If the mix is too dry you can add another beaten egg.
- Form meatballs with your hands. The mixture will be slightly wet. To roll them properly, wet your hands or oil them prior to rolling to stop the meat from sticking.
- Form the meatballs to your desired size. This recipe will make roughly 12 meatballs as shown in pic 11.
- This step shows how to bake meatballs in the oven (if baking, skip steps 13-15). Preheat oven to 375f and place the formed meatballs on a wire rack and baking sheet combination. Bake the meatballs for approximately 25-30 minutes in the middle rack of the oven.
- They will look nice and brown as shown in pic 12.
- These next 3 steps show how to fry the meatballs (if frying, skip steps 11-12). In a large pan add a ½ cup olive oil and a ½ cup of canola oil and heat on medium. Test the oil by placing a wooden spoon into the oil and checking for small bubbles. If the bubbles are not too large, the oil is ready. If the bubbles are very large, just lower the heat a tad and wait 2 minutes before adding the meatballs.
- When the oil is ready, add the meatballs and fry on all sides until golden brown, turning carefully with a fork or spatula when required.
- The Italian meatballs will look nice and brown as shown in pic 15. When they are brown on all sides (about 10-15 minutes), remove them and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Gently place the meatballs into the low simmering sauce, allowing them to further cook for about 1 hour.
The meatballs can be safely left cooking in the tomato sauce for 2-4 hours longer. Just keep the heat real low and stir occasionally. Once the meatballs are added to the sauce they will rarely break.
In picture A above - I'm adding the meatballs into the sauce and covering with a small opening to let them simmer and let the sauce evaporate and thicken slightly.
In picture B above - The meatballs have cooked for approximately 2 hours on low heat and the sauce has reduced by about 1" in the pot. This would be a perfect time to start boiling some pasta water!
The full Sunday dinner
Obviously, pasta will be needed. If you want the traditional spaghetti and meatballs, go for it!
Though not pasta this sauce works great with homemade potato gnocchi too.
In our home, our go-to's are tube-shaped pasta, such as rigatoni or penne rigate. When this recipe was photographed, my daughter picked tortiglioni.
Toss the pasta with some sauce and a touch of butter. The butter will allow the sauce to better cling to the pasta.
In most of the pasta recipes on this site, the pasta is cooked al dente and finished in the sauce with a touch of pasta water.
For Sunday sauce, especially if making multiple pounds of pasta, it's easier to just mix it in a large platter or bowl.
Meatballs, sauce, and bread
Pile those meatballs in a bowl with extra sauce on the side. And most importantly, don't forget a loaf or 2 of good Italian bread.
In our house, we don't slice the bread because we all enjoy the act of tearing it ourselves (my wife always claims the heel) and dipping it in the extra sauce.
I prefer to not over-sauce my pasta, so serving the extra sauce on the side is also good for those who like theirs a bit saucier.
In our home, we always debate over Parmigiano Reggiano vs Pecorino Romano.
Tara adores Parmigiano Reggiano, but I'm all about the Pecorino. The meatballs are flavored with the former, but the latter is my go-to on all types of pasta recipes.
Half the time we end up serving both and let the individual make their own decision.
In fact, if you love Pecorino Romano as much as I do check out this garlic mushroom pasta or these Italian stuffed tomatoes.
We also enjoy adding a dollop of ricotta cheese to our Sunday pasta every now and again. It changes the texture and is a delicious and creamy add-on.
Side dishes that work
This meal is hearty, so why not lighten it up a bit with some veggies. A few of our tried and true are:
- Italian broccoli - simple garlicky side dish.
- Garlic sauteed broccoli rabe - delicious bitter green sauteed with garlic and oil.
- Italian green beans in garlic and oil - crispy green beans sauteed in garlic and olive oil.
- String beans with tomato sauce - stewed green beans in garlicky tomato sauce.
- Meat - Chuck, which has a large amount of fat and flavor, and ground pork are a great combo for juicy, tender meatballs. Avoid using really lean meat if at all possible. A touch of milk can help to keep the meatballs juicy. Use a half-cup for this recipe, especially if using lean chop meat.
- Mixing the meatballs - It's crucial to not over-mix a meatball and not to form them too tightly. Making them by hand, forming them in a less than perfect manner gives you that home-cooked taste that is often lacking in commercial kitchen meatballs that are scooped, weighed and machine rolled.
- Breadcrumbs - The amount this recipe calls for is a fair compromise in the meat to breadcrumb ratio. Obviously adding too many breadcrumbs will make them harder, so pay attention to the amount used. Less is more.
- Eggs - 2 eggs is a good starting point, but don't be shy about using an extra one if the mix is too dry. The eggs act as a binder and ensure the meatballs can be formed properly.
- Let the meatballs cook - Leave them in the sauce (minimum 1 hour) on real low heat to slowly braise and absorb the flavors of the homemade tomato sauce.
- How to thicken the sauce - With or without paste the sauce can be thickened by simply opening the lid to allow quicker evaporation. Conversely, to slow the thickening process keep the sauce fully covered.
- Leftovers - The meatballs and sauce can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days and reheated on the stove-top. Don't forget to make meatball parm heroes with the leftovers! If the sauce is a little too thick, just add a touch of water to loosen it up. Or if needed, just toss in another can of hand-crushed plum tomatoes to increase the amount of sauce. We do this all the time!
- Freezing - The sauce and meatballs freeze well, and taste even better when used a month later.
Want more meatballs?
- Sicilian-style meatballs - With raisins, pine nuts, Pecorino Romano, garlic, and parsley.
- Italian sausage meatballs - Sausage is used in place of chopped meat for amazing flavor!
- Turkey meatballs - Tender (not dry) turkey meatballs.
- Mushroom meatballs - Uses portobello mushrooms for an earthy flavor and meaty texture.
- Eggplant meatballs - These eggplant meatballs are an easy change up to the traditional!
If you’ve enjoyed this Sunday sauce and meatballs recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.
We would love to hear how you did and it’s nice to show others as well. Thanks!
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For The Sauce
- 4 28 ounce cans San Marzano plum tomatoes hand crushed or blender pulsed
- 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp sugar
For The Meatballs
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 ½ cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
- ¾ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- ½ cup fresh parsley minced
- 2-3 large eggs
- 3 cloves garlic paste
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
For The Sauce
- Dice 1 onion. In a large bowl hand crush the tomatoes. Alternatively, pulse the tomatoes in a blender for 2-3 seconds.
- Coat the bottom of a large heavy pot with a ½ cup of olive oil and saute the onions on medium-low heat until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the tomato paste to the onions and cook for 5 minutes, spreading the paste around with a wooden spoon.
- Add in all the hand crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp of kosher salt, ½ tsp black pepper and ½ tsp of sugar. Stir the sauce until incorporated and cook on a low simmer with the lid left slightly ajar. Stir the sauce every so often (very important!) to avoid sticking. The sauce should cook on low heat for at least 2.5 to 3 hours but longer will be better.
For The Meatballs
- Begin by grating ¾ cup of parmigiano reggiano, mincing a half cup of fresh parsley, and creating garlic paste from 3 garlic cloves.
- Add the beef and ground pork to a large mixing bowl and season with 2 tsp kosher salt and a ½ tsp black pepper. In a small bowl beat 2 eggs and set aside.
- To the meat, add the breadcrumbs, grated cheese, parsley and garlic paste. Pour the eggs in and mix everything together. If the mixture is too dry, add one more egg to the mix.
- With wet hands roll approximately 2" size meatballs. The meatballs can be baked on a sheet pan with wire rack at 375f for 25-30 minutes or until brown in the middle of oven.
- Place the browned meatballs in the sauce and cook for a minimum of 1 hour on low heat to allow the meatballs to absorb the flavor of and braise in the sauce.
- When the meatballs are finished, serve with choice of pasta, grated cheese and Italian bread. Enjoy!
- Calories - The calorie info reflects the addition of 1 pound of pasta.
- Salt - Salt is necessary for flavorful meatballs. A good amount is 1 tsp per pound of meat, which is what the recipe calls for.
- Meat - Chuck, which has a large amount of fat and flavor, and ground pork are a great combo for juicy tender meatballs. Avoid using really lean meats if at all possible.
- Mixing the meatballs - It's crucial to not over-mix a meatball and to not form them too tightly. Use wet hands and roll the meatballs by hand until there are no cracks.
- Breadcrumb amount - The amount this recipe calls for is a fair compromise in the meat to breadcrumb ratio.
- Eggs - 2 eggs is a good starting point, but don't be shy about using an extra one if the mix is too dry. The eggs are the binder and ensure the meatballs can be formed properly.
- Let the meatballs cook - Leave them in the sauce (minimum 1 hour) on real low heat to slowly braise and absorb the flavors of the homemade tomato sauce.
- How to make the sauce thicker - With or without paste the sauce can be thickened by simply opening the lid to allow quicker evaporation. Conversely, to slow the thickening process keep the sauce pot fully covered.
- Leftovers - The meatballs and sauce can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days and reheated on the stove-top. If the sauce is a little too thick, just add a touch of water to loosen it up. Or if needed, just toss in another can of crushed plum tomatoes to increase the amount of sauce and let it cook for 30 minutes to incorporate into the existing sauce.
- Freezing - The sauce and meatballs can be frozen. Reuse them by thawing in the fridge, then cooking on the stove-top until heated through.
Question — if I'm just making the sauce, and not the meatballs, how long should the sauce cook once everything has ben added to the pot?
Hey I am looking at the recipe and will update the time. I would say at a minimum go for 2-3 hours, but often I will cook it all day really low and slow, stirring every 15-20 minutes to avoid sticking. As the sauce cooks it will slowly reduce and get thicker. Hope you enjoy it!
Thanks for the quick reply!!
You got it!
My grandparents came from Corleone Sicily, and they made meatballs ( similar to your recipe, with one exception they put milk in the bread crumps. I think it makes them more tender. In addition their Sunday sauce always has pork in it, ( usually country ribs). I really enjoy your recipes, and add most to my family recipe book.
Hi Roder. The milk is a nice touch. I normally use it for turkey and sometimes meatloaf. Thanks for liking the videos.
Another great recipe! We have a bunch of leftovers and plan to use them during the week. I didn't know how many recipe you have on YouTube. I love watching the pizza recipes but can't seem to find them while searching. I'm probably just not searching correctly. Anyway thanks!
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. I am trying to get all the YouTube pizza recipes on this website, but it's taking a very long time. I promise it will happen soon.
This is probably the first sauce recipe I don’t see garlic added into the sauce. Have you ever use garlic when you make Sunday Gravy?
Hey, I sometimes use garlic in this sauce. I have 3 versions of this recipe on YouTube with varying ingredients. One with sausage and pork chops. One with pork neck bones and red wine. And, one with garlic and a full pork loin. My overall message, better articulated through my videos, is to make these base recipes your own. If you want 10 cloves of garlic or none at all, go for it!
For the baked meatballs the video states 425 for 20 minutes - the recipe above says 375 for 25 - 30 minutes - which one is it ?
Either way is fine. You will get more color on them at 425f.
How many meatballs should this yield? And approx. weight in grams? And you’ve elevated my cooking skills. Thank you!
Hi William. You can get about (20-24) 2" meatballs. The rough weight of the meatball ingredients is 1300 grams so each meatball would weigh about 2 ounces or 56 grams. I would just roll them to the size you like though. Thanks for liking the recipes.
Made this recipe (along with the meatballs) for Christmas dinner. It was a huge hit! This will now be in my regular sauce rotation. Thanks for another great recipe Jim!
Hi John. I'm glad both the sauce and meatballs were a hit. Thanks for the feedback!
I just found your website and am printing recipes like mad! This is just what I’ve been looking for and I love the way you explain things and your videos. Can’t wait to start cooking. Thank you!
Hi Yvonne. Glad you're enjoying the recipes and I look forward to hearing which one you try next.
I like the sounds of ingredients in the sauce, not a lot of spices, but I do enjoy a light sauce and think tomato paste is too concentrated, ....will I have a nice sauce if I leave it out?
Hi Janet. You can leave out the paste. Hope you enjoy it!
I do almost everything the same with the exception of adding garlic to my sauce. Otherwise, everything is the same. Love the Sunday sauce and meatballs. Thanks for your recipes, I love them!
Hi Chris. Thanks for liking the recipes and for reaching out through email!
I love all your recipes and I want to make these and some of your other meatballs but I cannot use breadcrumbs because of the gluten. I am thinking that gluten free breadcrumbs just won’t work because of how gluten free bread hardly stays together in a sandwich that is a little moist. Do you have any suggestions?
Hi Gisele. I think the gluten-free breadcrumbs would probably work, but I can't say for sure as I have never used them. Ground gluten-free oats might work too, but again I am not certain as I have never tried them either.
I have used gluten-free panko breadcrumbs in meatballs like these with very good results. Great recipe!
Hi Jeff, that's great to hear and I appreciate you sharing the success you had with the adjustment. I'm sure this info will help other readers!
Looking for which meatballs your kids liked best as mentioned in the Sunday sauce video. I'm new to your site and would love to hear what they chose. Thank you for the great videos! btw, I'm team Pecorino Romano when cooking and Locatelli for the table.
Hi Rebecca. This is the same meatball recipe from the video where my kids did the taste testing. Thanks for liking the videos!
You are a breath of fresh air! Going to try the Grandma Pizza dough today. Thanks! I'll see how it turns out in a few days. Blessings to you.
Thanks, Leslie. Hope you enjoy it!
By far the best meatballs I’ve ever made and I’ve tried a lot
Thank you so much for the perfect instructions too.
Hi Kerry. Great to hear! There are definitely a lot of meatball recipes out there so I appreciate you putting these up there with the best.
My great-grandmother came from Piedmont, Italy after she was married. I grew up watching her (and my grandmother, and mother, and aunt) make just about everything I've seen on your channel. Christmas dinner was always meat ravioli, and New Year's was Tortellini in brodo. Thanksgiving was turkey stuffed with ravioli stuffing! Thanks for bringing back all those wonderful memories. BTW - They called it "sugo" or "gravy."
Hi Kristine. That ravioli stuffing sounds great! I'm happy to hear these recipes are bringing you back. Thanks for liking the channel.
I'm shopping for a dutch oven today. What quart size is needed for the full 4 can of tomatoes batch with meat?
Hi Chris. I recommend at least a 6.5 quart. I linked a 7 quart Lodge in my shop. It's a nice one.
I enjoyed making and eating these Sip and Feast meatballs in Sunday sauce. I added a cup of water to the sauce to reduce the intensity of the tomato paste and cooked the sauce for around 5 hrs. I made meatball parmesan heroes on semolina italian bread with sesame seeds and substituted a meltable, sharp provolone for the mozzarella. I love your recipes, James - I have a separate folder for them. You have made me a better cook.
Glad you enjoyed it, Catherine!
I can't find your recipe for sausages and pork chops in Sunday sauce, James. I know you have a video showing how to do it, but it's not a recipe. There's a link on your video but that doesn't seem to lead me to the recipe. I'm ready to go out and buy sausages and pork chops but I don't know how much to buy. Please help me.
Hi Catherine. I don't have a print recipe on this blog for that video. If you follow this Sunday sauce recipe I recommend 2 pounds of sausage links and 2 pounds of pork chops. If you want to use more meat, you should increase to five or six 28-ounce cans of plum tomatoes. Enjoy!
The sauce is on the stove and smells amazing. I added the Pork chops and sausage like you did in your video. The meatballs are in the oven. I bought fresh parsley and forgot to add it! I'm so mad at myself! Oh well, they still smell good.
I'm making the braciole after I rest a bit!
Hey there. I'm sure those meatballs will still be great. Good news is that the braciole calls for parsley as one of the ingredients. Hope you enjoy the meal!
Hi, James - Without knowing you already gave me a speedy reply about pork chops and sausages in Sunday sauce, I went ahead and cooked that combo last night. I used around two pounds each of pork chops and sausages, just like you suggested in your answer to me. What a great success! Absolutely delicious after being cooked for 5 hours. You recommend removing the chops after 3 hrs. and that’s what I did. I don’t want to risk having small bone fragments in the sauce by keeping them in for five hours. That was a good safety tip of yours. Thank you so much for your great recipes.
Hi Catherine. Glad it all worked out. Thanks for the comment.
Alessio (Alex) Garcia
I send all of your videos to share with friends
I really appreciate that, Alex!
Hi James. Looks good. What do you think about adding some crushed stale Wonder bread to your bread crumb mixture? Then a just a splash of milk to keep it moist. Those are my Long Island memories. Enjoying watching your videos.
Hi George. The bread works great as you suggest. I prepared it that way in a stuffed meatball video from a few months ago. Thanks for liking the recipes and videos!
I love ❤️ your recipes, and how you show each and every picture and step along the way.Thanks Jim! I’m from Farmingdale
L.I. Living in Fl now for 35 years.
Thanks, Joyce! I lived in Farmingdale years ago too.
I made this sauce before without the meat and loved it! I am planning to do it again with pork chops and maybe some sausage. I have 2 questions:
1) Instead of simmering on the stove all day where you have to stir it every 15 minutes, can this be put into the oven for a more hands-off approach? And if so, what temperature?
2) When plating with the meat, I assume the pasta becomes more of a side dish?
Thanks for all your videos!
Thanks, Shylo! So glad you enjoyed the sauce. Yes, you can definitely place it covered in the middle of the oven at about 275-300f for the more hands-off approach. As far as plating, do what you like! We usually serve everything family-style so the pasta is in a large pasta bowl and the meat on a serving platter. That way everyone can take however much they'd like.
I've made many of your recipes and absolutely love them! I'll be making this sauce for the first time and honestly the first time I've ever made homemade sauce for pasta.
What do you recommend if I turned this into a meat sauce?
and what about adding garlic in the recipe? or any spices?
Thank you so much for your help and all the wonderful recipes you share!
Thanks, Zabi! So happy you're enjoying my recipes! You can definitely add garlic or any meat you like. Use my recipe as a guide and adjust it to suit your taste!
Your meatballs are pretty much like my granny except I use 1 1/2 lbs beef and 1/2 lb pork. Also made the sauce with sausage, meatballs and lamb chops 😘😘 I’m on a low carb eating regime so not using a lot of pasta, but I substitute vegetables. Your recipes are great! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Toni!
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your recipes and your videos. I'm a nice Jewish girl from Bensonhurst (Brooklyn) who makes a mean Sunday gravy - braciola and all. This is the food of my childhood. Of having Sunday dinner prepared by 'grandma' at friends homes. Please tell me a cookbook is in the works. I'd be first in line to own a copy. Keep on cooking'. - dlf
Thank you, Debbie! I'm so happy you're enjoying the recipes and videos. I haven't started the cookbook yet, but it is on my list of to-dos for 2023!
For the whole canned tomatoes, you are only using the tomatoes in the sauce and discarding the juice leftover in the can or you are using the whole can? (juice and tomato)
The whole can, Mary. Hope you enjoy it.
Always use the tomatoes and the liquid in the can.. If you want them smooth put the tomatoes in the blender for a few seconds…
This is like the 5th recipe I’ve made of your’s recently. Every one so darned good! Your videos are so informative with all the techniques and “saves” in case of missing ingredients or “boo boos” 😂. Been passing along to my Italian daughter-in-law. She’s impressed too!
Hi Liz, I'm so happy you're enjoying the recipes! Thank you for your kind words and for sharing the recipes with your daughter-in-law!
Jim is an amazing chef.
He explains everything visually step-by-step
So glad I found his site
Thank you Jim.
Hi Camille, thank you so much! So happy you're enjoying the recipes!
Hi Jim! Loving your recipes and looking forward to making the beef bracioli !( many different spellings). Thx. for the great videos too!
Thank you, Carolyn! I'm happy you're enjoying the recipes and the videos!
I’ve been using this recipe for the past year and needed to comment about how incredible it is. Practically identical in taste to the meatballs my mom made me growing up but could never articulate the recipe. Eating these brings me right back to simpler times now that I live far from home. Thank you so much.
Hi Tori, wow, thank you so much for this comment. I'm so happy this recipe was able to provide some nostalgia for you.
Love watching you cook and my niece and brother-in-law are now also fans! ❤️
Hi Esther, thank you for the comment and I'm so happy you're all enjoying the recipes!
Don A. DeFranco
Awsome Sunday sauce
Thank you, Don! So happy you liked this one!
I love the way you explain the details step-by-step how to do it. Your recipes are awesome thanks
Thank you, Donna! So happy you enjoy the recipes!
Enjoy your recipes. They remind me of my father who did all the cooking.
Thank you, Georgia! I'm happy you're enjoying the recipes and that they're providing a bit of nostalgia for you.
Here is a third meatball application: My grandfather from Bari put the balls in the sauce as is , no frying nor baking. He did use wet bread not crumbs so I don't know if that held them together better.
Hi! Excited to try this recipe today. Frying or baking the meatballs - Would you recommend one over the other?
Hi Donna, thanks for the comment! I actually filmed a video for baked vs. fried meatballs and both my kids preferred the baked as did my wife. It really comes down to personal preference! Either way will be great and hope you enjoy the recipe!
As I am not overly crazy for meatballs, I just prepared the meat and added it to the sauce to cook. It still was one of the best I have had and heard the same from my taste tester. Thank you.
Hi Pat, so happy you liked this one! Thanks for the comment!
Oh my God, this is exactly how mama taught me to make real Italian meatballs! My sauce is very close, only I don't add sugar but I do add a bay leaf. I also add the onion to the frying pan at the end after browning the meatballs and then add into the sauce. Mama said like you instructed to never overwork the meat when rolling into a ball. Love these authentic recipes, they remind me of Sundays past growing up!
Hi Virginia, thank you for the comment and so happy this hit the nostalgia button for you!
Brings back many memories! My grandparents were from Italy and this is the EXACT way my grandmother made her sauce (minus the pork chops - I don't remember those) and meatballs. My mother made this same meal and I make my sauce and meatballs exactly the same - it's all wonderful! Unfortunately, I've recently been diagnosed with Celiac disease and can no longer eat this wonderful meal but I still make it for family. YUM!! Nothing like an Italian Sunday dinner!
Hi Sharon, thanks for the comment and so happy it was able to stir up some good memories for you!
My grandmother would make lasagna by first making a Sunday gravy with braciole, meatballs similar to yours, and Italian sausage. Then the next day assemble and cook the lasagna. My dad wrote out the recipe many years ago and I only recently found it. Going to give it a try this Christmas with your recipe!
This was my first time tending (stirring) to a recipe all day...but boy was it worth it! We had lots of leftovers as it was just me and partner eating and the leftovers were good. Thanks for this recipe!
Hi Natasha, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed this one!
These are literally the best meatballs I've ever made. I made them yesterday and we'll be enjoying on Christmas Day (if I don't eat them all). In my opinion, you've got the flavor ratios down perfectly. My 90+ year old great aunt has criticized my meatballs in the past... I dare her to criticize this year! LOL Thanks so much, Jim - I absolutely love your videos and can't wait to try some more of your recipes.
Hi Lorelei, so happy you liked the meatballs! You'll have to let us know how your great aunt feels about them (fingers crossed)! Thanks for the comment and for watching the videos. Merry Christmas!
I want to make just the Sunday sauce and the meatball recipe with meatballs added. Do I have to have the pork chops and sausage links to make the sauce taste good? I know the drippings are important. Also, will a large stock pot work for the amount of sauce in the recipe?
Hi Vanessa, you can make it with just the meatballs and will still taste great. Yes, a large stock pot would work.
When I was first married, I asked my Sicilian grandmother how long should I cook the sauce. How would I know it was ready. Her answer was “I’ll smell right when it’s done”. I wasn’t sure I understood her answer, but she was right!
I appreciate your recipes. I never had a chance to do much cooking with her, but your cooking is very reminiscent of hers, especially bracciole. Thank you.
Hi Sharon, thanks for the comment and so happy you're enjoying the recipes and the nostalgia!