What beats a plate of spaghetti and meatballs on a Sunday Evening? If I had an Italian Nonna, I think I would’ve made her proud with this one. We started watching the TV show, It’s Suppertime! on Viceland, and the pilot episode had me determined to make a homemade marinara sauce from scratch. I took quite a few of the from the show and combined them with what I knew about making homemade tomato sauce. I’ll admit, this recipe is a bit time intensive — start to finish took me about 3 hours — but the end result was more than worth it. Despite the cooking time, the preparation is rather easy and requires a short list of ingredients: vine ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and grass fed ground beef, to name a few.
Some helpful tips I learned from the TV show:
- heat your olive oil slowly to ensure you don’t burn your garlic and onion when you add it to the pot.
- Always use vine ripe tomatoes for homemade sauce.
This recipe is perfect for meal prepping, a cozy night in with your honey, or for hosting a dinner party in your home. If you’re vegetarian, the tomato sauce is plenty flavorful all on its own. Next time I make this, I am going make double so I can freeze some for future meals. I wish I was better about doing that with sauce and soup recipes. Anyway, See below for the recipe and let me know what you think!
Homemade Tomato Sauce with Grass-Fed Meatballs
For the marinara:
- 5 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced (or 2tbsp from jar)
- 1/2 large white onion, chopped
- 1 6 oz can of organic tomato paste
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 5 large basil leaves
- 3 cups filtered water
For the Meatballs:
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup crushed almonds (optional)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- dash of sea salt
- In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, slowly heat 3 tbsp of olive oil.
- Add minced garlic and onion and cook until fragrant.
- Add diced tomato, sea salt, and black pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add tomato paste, and mix until evenly distributed.
- Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn down to a simmer, add 5 whole basil leaves and let simmer for 1 hour
- If it looks like you sauce is losing water through steam release, Add another cup of water and let simmer for another 30-45 minutes while preparing the meatballs.
- For the meatballs: In a medium sized mixing bowl combine 1lb grass-fed ground beef, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 cup crushed almonds, 1egg, 1 tsp black pepper, dash of sea salt, 1 tsp garlic powder. Using your hand, blend the ingredients together well.
- Form the the mixture into balls of desired size. I like to make them into 2 inch sized meatballs.
- In a large skillet with olive oil, brown the outside of the meatballs, about 2 minutes per side.
- Transfer the meatballs to the sauce and let simmer for 1 hour.
- Serve the meatballs over your favorite pasta, on their own as an appetizer, or with veggies as a main dish.
If you give this a try, snap a pic and post it to instagram! I promise, homemade sauce it easier than you think, and yields a dish more delicious than any jarred sauce (except maybe Rao’s. haha).