I’ve said it before, my mother and my grandmother were my inspiration for cooking. My fondest memories growing up are watching both these wonderful cooks in the kitchen, as well a savoring the delicious meals they prepared. So when I asked my 88-year-old mother for her spaghetti sauce and meatball recipe, I thought I could just share it with you all. Not so, I needed to fill in the blanks because my mother just cooks from memory. I worked with her to get the full recipes down on paper. I still think that only my mother can make her recipes sing with the most harmonies flavors. I gave this my best. I cooked all kinds of variations of her recipe and now my freezer is filled with enough sauce and meatballs for months. I must admit I did have fun cooking like my mother and grandmother, making large pots of sauce simmering on the stove. And the funny thing is that I don’t make that much traditional sauce because I have never felt that I can duplicate the flavor of my mother and grandmother’s sauce. I feel the same way about traditional pasta and Lasagna dishes. I am always disappointed with the results when I make traditional Italian recipes from my childhood.
My meals never taste as wonderful as I remember.
Before I start the recipe let’s talk tomatoes. My mother says you can use crushed tomatoes if you want to go cut a step, such as Pastene ground peeled, kitchen ready tomatoes. Over the years she’s used Red Pack, Tuttoroso, just good Italian tomatoes. Now I know that many will say you can only make a good sauce with San Marzano DOP tomatoes, or others swear by Muir Glen, or Cento or Pom. I am not such a purist when it comes to the tomatoes because I was spoiled by my grandmother’s homegrown preserved tomatoes that she would only use. Nothing compares to her plum tomatoes. Use what you want. If I use whole peeled tomatoes, I chop the tomatoes then add along with the juice to the recipe. Or you can put tomatoes and their liquid through a food mill fitted with a fine disk. Do what suits you.
My Mother’s Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs
2 Cans of Tomatoes, 28 or 35 oz.
2 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
In large pot heat olive, add onions cook until lightly translucent for 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook for two more minutes. Add tomatoes(chopped if whole) with liquid and seasonings. Simmer for an hour. (Add a little water or white wine if the sauce gets too thick).
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 Tbs fine chopped parsley
1 cup stale bread, crust removed and break bread into small pieces
or you can use 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
3 Tablespoon olive oil for cooking
Moisten bread with milk. Combine the moistened bread with all the other ingredients except olive oil and mix meat mixture very well. Form into meatballs and fry in oil for only a few minutes on each side. Add meatballs and one tablespoon of oil that was cooked with the meatballs to sauce. Cook sauce and meatballs on low for another hour.
Or if you want to bake meatballs like my mother. Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Coat with olive oil and bake for 10-12 minutes. Add meatballs and one tablespoon of oil that meatballs were baked into the sauce. Cook sauce and meatballs on low for another hour.
Good cooks really put passion into what they make. Cooking is an art and skill that get better with practice and time. The best advice I can give is to have no fear of cooking. Try all different recipes and add your own touches that will make the meal special. What I found out over the years is that making a recipe your own is what makes that recipe special to you and your family. I have tried so many different dishes from magazines and cookbooks that I thought were not very good. So I just started from scratch and made the recipe how I thought it would be better and it was. So give it a try, just cook.