Italian meatballs in tomato sauce is a typical recipe from Southern Italy, particularly from that Apulia (Puglia in Italian, or “the heel”).
Meatballs can be prepared in thousands of different ways. Usually in the North we fry them, with no tomato, while in the South it is more common to have them slowly cooked in tomato sauce.
Here I share with you a recipe I received from an old lady living close to me, famous for her meatballs :). I am sure you will love them as much as I do!
A final note on meatballs and pasta, or meatballs and spaghetti. Well, they are not Italian at all, here we would never have meatballs on top of pasta 🙂 . When fried, we eat them with a side of vegetables, when cooked in tomato sauce… we simply love having them with a lot of crusty bread.
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But now stop losing time and let’s start cooking our Italian meatballs in tomato sauce!
Italian meatballs in tomato sauce
- Large bowl
- 600 gr minced beef
- 1 egg
- 80 gr bread crumbs
- 2 pinches dried garlic
- 1 pinch dried onion
- 1 pinch parsley
- 2 tbsp tomato concentrate
- 0.5 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp salt
- q.s. black pepper
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 onion
- 800 gr peeled tomatoes
- 1 pinch oregano
- Prepare the "trito", i.e. chopped carrots, onion and celery. Half of it will be part of meatballs mix, remaining will be used to prepare the sauce.
- Mix the ingredients in a bowl: the minced beef, the egg, the bread crumbs, the dried onion, the dried garlic, the parsley, the tomato concentrate, the vinegar, salt and black pepper.
- Add half of the trito.
- Work by hand the ingredients until you obtain a well formed meatloaf (see video below). Cover it and let it rest while you prepare the sauce.
- Use peeled tomatoes to prepare the sauce, since they give the best results. You will need to mix them to obtain a sauce.
- In a pan, gently fry the remaining trito in extra virgin olive oil, and when it's ready (see picture) add the tomato sauce. When it starts boiling, it is ready for the meatballs.
- Prepare the meatballs (the size of a large walnut) and drop them into the boiling sauce. It should be enough to cover them. Let them cook at low heat, covered, for about 1 hour and a half, adding a pinch of salt and oregano, according to taste. And.. enjoy!
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Suggested wine pairings
I love having this meatballs with a still red wine. Primitivo di Manduria is one of my favorites and it pairs really well, since it is a typical red wine from Apulia. It is a wine still mostly unknown abroad, but I strongly suggest you try it. Pay attention, since it is really strong 🙂