Preparing meatballs and marinara sauce is a great idea for dinner. This recipe does require a little bit of effort but it is well worth it. The homemade marinara sauce uses crushed tomatoes and gets a lot of its flavor from onion, garlic, oregano and basil. The meatballs use classic Italian ingredients such as parmesan cheese, Italian sausage, hamburger, and parsley. The meatballs are browned in the oven so there is no need to fry them in hot oil. After the meatballs are browned they are placed into the marinara sauce to simmer until fully cooked. This recipe will make about 8 to 10 servings, so you will be able to feed a large crowd or have leftovers. You can also freeze the meatballs and marinara for up to 1 month. You can serve the meatballs and sauce over pasta such as spaghetti or linguini. I also like to serve them with garlic bread. Enjoy.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Onion mixture-
- 3 onions (finely chopped)
- 8 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 (6 ounces) can tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup of water
- 4 (28 ounces) cans crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 slices hearty white bread
- ¾ cup milk
- 1/2lb sweet Italian sausage (casings removed)
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 large eggs
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 ½ lbs ground chuck (80% lean)
- To prepare the onion mixture—heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until shimmering.
- Add the onions and cook until golden brown (10 to 15 minutes). Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Transfer half of the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
- To prepare the marinara sauce—Add tomato paste to the remaining onion mixture in the pot and cook for about 1 minute. Pour in the wine and cook until slightly thickened (about 2 minutes). Stir in the water and crushed tomatoes. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is no longer watery (45 to 60 minutes). Stir in the ½ cup parmesan cheese and basil.
- Add salt to taste. Stir in the sugar.
- To prepare the meatballs—While the sauce is simmering. Place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Mash the bread slices and milk in the bowl with the reserved onion mixture until smooth. Add Italian sausage, 1 cup parmesan cheese, parsley, eggs, 2 garlic cloves and salt to the bowl.
- Mash to combine. Add the ground chuck and knead with your hands until well combined. Form the mixture into 2 ½ inch meatballs. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until well browned (about 20 minutes).
- Transfer the meatballs to the pot with the sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are fully cooked (the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees F.). Serve over pasta. Note: Meatballs and marinara sauce can be frozen for up to 1 month.