San Marzano Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs

Though we have a lot of Italian restaurants around here, I've never found the food all that great.  We get a very Americanized version of Italian food. So, when we stopped at a new restaurant recently after a shopping excursion, I did not have high hopes.  I was blown away by the food.  They only offered one spaghetti dish at lunch, a San Marzano spaghetti sauce served with Italian meatballs.  It reminded me of the little neighborhood bars in Italy that served limited food and didn't even have menus.  When you walked through the door the bartender would yell...spaghetti, beefstecca?  That was your choice. I always ordered the spaghetti because it was always wonderful.  I knew I had to recreate it.
 I started by making the meatballs:

1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup breadcrumbs
 1/3 lb. ground veal
1/3 lb. ground pork
3/4 lb. ground beef
1 egg
1/3 cup Parmesan
3 T. parsley, chopped
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil for frying

I doubled this because I am a cooking freak and never think I have enough food for everyone.

 Cook them over medium heat rolling them occasionally to get them evenly browned.

 Set them aside and make the sauce.

Saute' 1 large diced onion in the oil left from cooking the meatballs.  Add a bit more if you need it.  Sprinkle it with salt a pepper.
 Cook this until the onions begin to caramelize.
Add about 6 diced garlic cloves. Cook this for a few minutes and push it to the side of the pan.

Add 2 small cans of tomato paste.
Cook the paste for several minutes until it begins to darken.
 If areas begin to stick, loosen them up with a bit of red wine.

 Stir it into the onions and garlic.

Add 5 large cans of San Marzano tomatoes.  Make sure you buy ones that have D.O.P. on the can to make sure you are getting authentic ones from Italy.
 Break them up after adding each can using a potato masher.

 Keep adding and smashing.

 Until you have a relatively smooth sauce.

 Add 4 bay leaves.

 Add 2 tsp. dried oregano, 2 tsp. dried basil, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper.

 Mix it all together and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Add your meatballs and cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally. This has a very bright, fresh tomato flavor.  Not at all like a ragu or a  bolognese.  This makes a great pizza sauce too sans meatballs.  I don't have finished pics because everyone groaned when I told them I made this because they are all on after Xmas diets.  So, this all ended up in the freezer. I guess I should have made a single recipe.


Surely there are no calories in that? In fact, you'd burn calories eating it, wouldn't you? lol
I noticed you make your sauce the same way I do. Awesome! Where do you get your brand of San Marzano DOP tomatoes? I use Cento and buy them from Walmart.
Anonymous said…
Meatballs are never wrong, no matter what kind it is :-) I had it yesterday but Swedish ones.
Today I'll have pancakes :-)

Have a great day!

1st Man said…
So delicious looking. Thanks!!! We LOVE San Marzano toms, we get Cento canned, love them. Your meatball recipe looks delish too, will try it.
Gemmagirl said…
This looks like the bomb. I was born in Northern Italy (Veneto region) so I know good when I see it. Grazie Mille per la ricetta.
I'm in meatball heaven. Only had one tonight with my rigatoni. ( but lots of italian sausage). How you manage to duplicate things with just one meal is amazing.
This was so interesting to me! Back in 1955 when I was just beginning my life as a wife and mother, I used to read "True Story" magazine and there was always hints for us housewives and recipes. A young Italian woman sent in her recipe for spaghetti and meat balls and I made them and it has been in my recipe box for about 60 years now. It is almost exactly the one you just posted! The one I have has parmesan cheese in it. I started reading and was so surprised. Yours is the only other place I have ever seen it. It's delicious..and a family favorite. :) It was neat to see it.
Guillaume said…
Oh that looks so delicious!