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white bowl with meatballs stacked with fresh basil and garlic bread scooping up sauce

Meatballs & Homemade Sauce

  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Cuisine: Italian


Juicy homemade meatballs with flavorful red sauce made from scratch




  • 1/2lb ground sirloin
  • 1/2lb hot italian sausage (or regular ground pork)
  • 1/2lb ground veal (or lamb, or can omit veal, just make sure all meat=1.5lbs together)
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup parmesean cheese
  • 1/41/3 cup italian bread crumbs (start with 1/4, adjust if need more binding)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil for pan searing

Homemade Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 anchovy filets
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated (leftover ends put in sauce)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 228 ounce san marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp dry oregano


  1. In the dutch oven, over medium heat add 2 tbsp of olive oil and sauté onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add all the meatball ingredients (minus the 1/2 cup olive oil). Using your hands mix the meatballs until ingredients are all combined. Form balls with your hands (I usually form mine into 1 1/2in balls) and place aside.
  2. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in dutch oven on med/high heat. Add the meatballs and pan sear 2 sides for about 1 minute on each side. I did it in two batches. Set aside on a pan and start the sauce once all the meatballs have been pan seared.
  3. Leaving the oil in the dutch oven, add the anchovies. Once they are dissolved, add the onions and sauté until they begin to soften about 3-4 minutes. Then add the grated garlic and carrots to the sauce, let cook another minute. Open 2 cans of san marzano tomatoes and add to the sauce. Mix in the sugar, red pepper flakes, oregano, and fresh ground black pepper.
  4. Using your cooking utensil break up the tomatoes in the sauce and bring to a boil. Once it begins to bubble lower the heat to simmer. Now is the time if you do not want a chunky sauce to use the immersion blender. Then add the fresh basil, stir the sauce, and add the meatballs.
  5. Let the sauce and meatballs simmer for 30 minutes. The meatballs should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
  6. Serve alone, over pasta, as a meatball sub, or with garlic bread
  7. Top with additional parmesan cheese, basil, and red pepper flakes


  • You can use whatever combo of meat so long as it equals 1.5lbs. (Sirloin/lamb, lamb/pork, all 3, etc.)
  • When making the meatballs, put some olive oil on your hands so the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands

Keywords: meatballs, red sauce, homemade sauce, hot italian sausage, beef, veal