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Italian Meatballs and Tomato Gravy

Italian Meatballs and Tomato Gravy

1 lb. lean ground meat, chuck is good, round or sirloin is too lean

1 medium onion, 3 or 4 toes garlic, 1/2 small green pepper(optional) all finely chopped 2 raw eggs, about a 3 inch piece of stale french bread which has been soaked in water and the water squeezed out.

Italian bread crumbs, depending on the softness of the mixture, 1/2 to 1 cup of bread crumbs to make the mixture firm but not too firm. Meatballs should be medium soft.

salt, pepper, chopped parsley. And if desired about 1/2 cup grated Italian cheese may be added to the mixture before rolling into balls.

Olive oil for frying meatballs.

Place all of the above ingredients except the bread crumbs, cheese and olive oil in a large bowl and mix gently but thoroughly. Add bread crumbs to tighten the consistency of the meat, and cheese if desired.

At this point, I like to make a small patty and fry it to see if it needs more salt , pepper or breadcrumbs to keep it from breaking up in the gravy.

Shape mixture into 10 balls, brown in a skillet in olive oil. After browning remove to the pan in which the gravy is to be cooked. Stir the sauce carefully so as not to cut into the meatballs.

Italian Tomato Gravy

one 16 oz. can Progresso whole Italian Plum tomatoes with puree and basil slightly chopped

one 6 oz. can tomato paste, Progresso if possible
one large onion, chopped,
a couple of green onions would be good also.
3 or 4 large cloves of garlic chopped,
1/4 to 1/2 half green pepper, chopped (optional)
1 or 2 tbs.. sugar
oregano, sweet basil and parsley
about 1/4 cup of olive oil, or more if you prefer.

Fry the ingredients for the gravy in the same skillet in which the meatballs were fried. This picks up all the little crisp browned pieces of meat left from frying the meatballs..

Fry onions, garlic and green pepper in olive oil until soft, do not let garlic burn or it will taste bitter. Add tomato paste, oregano, basil and sugar; fry until slightly brown, being sure not to burn the paste; the gravy will taste bitter. Add plum tomatoes to the skillet, mix together and let simmer a couple of minutes to evaporate some of the water in the tomatoes. Transfer this mixture to large sauce pan. Fill the empty tomato and tomato paste cans each twice with water add to sauce. Salt and pepper to taste, add the parsley. Cover sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until thick or the consistency that you prefer.

You may also add a splash of wine when adding the water.

If you want to use Italian Sausages,or chicken, you first brown these in a skillet. After browning, place them in the pan in which sauce is to be cooked. Proceed as for meatballs.

This will make enough gravy to serve with about 1 lb. of spaghetti, or the pasta of your choice. I like linguine, ziti angel hair and sometimes shells, which holds some of the gravy inside the shell.


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