The Basics: How to Make Meatballs in Red Sauce

From the store to the kitchen to the table: We outline the steps that get you from raw ingredients to your dinner tonight, free of measurements and complicated techniques. It's a method you'll remember and whip out whenever you like. It is the most basic way to make the thing you're making—like some of the best Italian-American meatballs in red sauce you'll ever taste.

You'll need:

  • a large saucepan with a lid
  • three thick slices of French or Italian bread (enough to make about 3 cups of bread cubes)
  • milk
  • 56 ounces of tomato sauce (about 2 1/2 big cans) or the equivalent of homemade
  • two garlic cloves
  • a handful of Italian parsley
  • two large eggs
  • a large handful of flour
  • 3/4 pound ground beef, very cold
  • 1/2 pound ground pork, very cold
  • a handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Remove the bread crusts and discard. Chop the bread into roughly 3/4-inch cubes and place in a small bowl. Pour in enough milk to just cover the cubes, and smoosh them down with your hands so they absorb the milk. Let stand 5 minutes.

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    Meanwhile, pour the tomato sauce into a large saucepan. You should have enough to come about 2/3 of the way up the side of the pan. If it seems too thick, add a little water. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat and gently simmer.

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    Finely chop the garlic and parsley; set aside. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork until just broken up; set aside. Put the flour in a small dish or on a plate; set aside.

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    Add the garlic, parsley, beaten eggs, and Parmesan to the meat mixture. Season with a few large pinches of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Using your hands, quickly mix until evenly incorporated. (Optional step: Form a tiny patty from the meat mixture and cook it in a frying pan to check the seasonings. Adjust as desired.)

    Chowhound

    Chowhound

    Chowhound

    Chowhound

    Form the meat into 1.5-inch balls. If your hands start to stick to the meat, wet them with water. Roll the meatballs in the flour until they are lightly coated.

    Chowhound

    Chowhound

    Carefully drop each meatball into the simmering sauce, cover the saucepan, and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Now that the meatballs have set, gently stir them, cover, and continue to simmer for 35 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for 5 minutes more.

    Chowhound

    Chowhound

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