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Meatballs and Tomato Sauce


Any type of ground meat will work with this recipe, but a blend of pork and beef will yield the best results. Serve the meatballs over your favorite pasta and freeze any leftovers in the sauce; they can be reheated for meatball sandwiches. From the book "Mad Hungry," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan Books).

  • Yield: Makes thirty 1 1/2-inch meatballs

Source: Mad Hungry, October 2010


  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 slices best-quality bread, crusts removed
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (use 1 teaspoon if Parmesan is substituted for the Romano)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Two 28-ounce cans best-quality whole tomatoes, pulsed with juices in a blender
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)


  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk. Soak the bread in the milk, turning the slices over to absorb it. Cool and mince the bread. Place it in a large bowl. Add the meats, garlic, onion, eggs, cheese, parsley, pepper, and salt. Using clean hands, mix together until completely combined.

  2. Have a rimmed baking sheet or platter ready. Roll into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. (If you periodically run cold water over your hands, the meat won't stick to them as you roll.) If you have time, chill the raw meatballs to firm them up.

  3. Heat a 14-inch skillet (or two smaller skillets to fry in batches) over high heat. Add the olive oil and when it is very hot, add the meatballs in a single layer. Don't crowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. Fry the meatballs without moving for a few minutes, then turn as they cook to brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon out any excess oil from the pan, carefully scraping around the meatballs.

  4. Add the tomatoes and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the browned bits. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot pasta with 3 meatballs on top, some sauce, the grated cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.

Reviews Add a comment

  • shachak
    7 OCT, 2014
    I make these meatballs like this all the time now they are pretty awesome Thanks love watching you cook and miss you on hallmark channel
  • zahira40
    15 AUG, 2012
    bolitas carne
  • NoFontanaMarie
    18 FEB, 2012
    Great tasting dish. Perfecto. Thank you so much Lucinda. I enjoy watching your show and try not to miss. You are not only a great chef but a great teacher. Thanks again.
  • tylergirl
    8 SEP, 2011
    I have try several meatball recipes but this one is the best I found. I make the whole batch and freeze them when you need them.
  • MelMcP
    17 APR, 2011
    Made these meatballs for dinner tonight- Delicious! I used ground turkey and halfed the recipe since I was only cooking for two. My husband and I thought they were great! Thanks Lucinda! Oh- and my husband would like to say 'thank you' also. I'm a beginner cook, married almost 4 years, and am now trying to expand my knowledge in the kitchen. My husband asked me tonight what it is about you that has got me wanting to learn more...I told him you're a great teacher with amazingly yummy recipes! :)
  • JBG65
    6 MAR, 2011
    My husband just made these meatballs. Quick, easy, flavorful and moist! We will be making these again!
  • pegyly
    7 FEB, 2011
    I did fry the meatballs, but they completely lost their shape, so we had spaghetti and meatblobs for dinner which my nephew thought was great.
  • TresaSu
    5 FEB, 2011
    This recipe is great for how simple it is. I was making a much more complicated sauce. No more! This is really delicious. Note: I've used veal instead of pork a couple of times and all beaf once. They turned out just fine. Woderful. Cannot say enough!! My kids have a new fav.
  • Sniffy
    25 JAN, 2011
    Lucinda, rather than frying the meatballs, I place them on a wire rack in a rimmed cookie sheet and bake them at 350