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Cooking the meatballs in the tomato sauce saves time and infuses the sauce with flavor. Bonus: There's only one pot to wash!

Source: Everyday Food, October 2009
Total Time Prep Servings



Cook's Notes

To freeze: Form meatballs. Freeze on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag and store in the freezer, up to 3 months. To serve, thaw and continue with step 2.

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How would you rate this recipe?
    6 JAN, 2011
    I just finished registering so now I can comment re the above recipe. Until this is corrected regarding the amouont of salt, I will NOT do the recipe. I am sure Martha will see to it that it is corrected. Thanks Martha.
    • ishaolinma4928149
      4 JAN, 2019
      Just add it to your taste. Every cook should taste their food during cooking.
  • ajon84
    25 JAN, 2011
    Gosh people, stop with all the whiny comments! If you have done any cooking before, you can tell this is a typo and should read 1/2 tsp salt. It is generally a 2-1 ratio of salt to pepper. I wish the world wasn't so full of complainers and victims.
    • ishaolinma4928149
      4 JAN, 2019
      Are you not complaining?
  • naturalgirl
    22 OCT, 2011
    I follow the recipe as written and I will make changes next time. The flavor was okay, but does need more herb flavor, try adding basil? The meatballs fell apart while cooking in sauce. Next time I will make sauce first, then cook meatballs in non stick (teflon) pan and add to sauce as they brown. This dish has potential, so I will try again.
    • ishaolinma4928149
      4 JAN, 2019
      Yes, use basil not oregano. Oregano is for pizza per my very old friend Mr. Ruggiero from Italy.
  • MS10960963
    5 DEC, 2017
    This is just regarding the meatballs as I used store-bought sauce and pasta instead of bread. They were alright but had too much breadcrumbs, I think. They would have probably been better mixed with pork as well. I probably won’t use this recipe again.
    • ishaolinma4928149
      4 JAN, 2019
      Definitely add ground pork or veal or both to the ground beef. It makes a huge difference. Even bison is a good addition. If your are into experimentation, add a can of Bacon Spam. I add it to my gyoza mixture and it is a crowd pleaser.
    12 JAN, 2013
    • lindarsapp7020746
      15 SEP, 2017
      Sarah, people rave over my meatballs and often wonder what's different about them. Well, for one thing, I also include parmesan cheese in my recipe as well as not one clove, not two cloves, not three cloves but lotsa, lotsa cloves of garlic. What's an Italian meatball supposed to taste like? Garlicky!!! I had an Uncle Carm (very Italian) and he always used "lotsa garlic". And he did the same with his Sunday Sauce but he also included onions (finely diced) in his sauce. Try adding "lotsa garlic" to your meatballs the next time you make them. Makes great sandwiches!!!
  • sarahmroach
    16 FEB, 2014
    This recipe was just okay. My meatballs fell apart and the sauce was a little boring. The sauce needs onion and fresh basil. I think the meatballs would stay together without breadcrumbs, so I will omit next time.
  • Ashley L
    29 JUL, 2012
    I have noticed that the recipes are a little different from the videos too. But I always follow the video its usually much better. I think there is a different person cooking and writing the recipe. The chef in the video usually changes the recipe to do what she thinks is best. These meatballs are so moist and delicious. Love them!
  • ejlee935
    18 JUL, 2012
    the video and the written recipe seems off. she puts the meatballs directly into the sauce, but the recipe says to brown the meatballs and then add the sauce. she also doesn't put sugar into the sauce. also, this is no biggy... but the recipe doesn't mention about adding salt to the meatballs which will make it taste bland. i've been noticing a lot of Martha's written recipes and videos don't match.
  • Barb
    9 JUL, 2012
    Please note: It says COURSE salt - I believe that converts to 1/2 teaspoon of fine table salt.
  • cleather
    29 NOV, 2011
    My family loves this recipe as is.

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