By Marie Muccio 

    Grab an apron and a shopping list and take some notes! Because here’s how you make juicy, tender meatballs in a delicious sauce, just like Nonna’s.

    First, let’s go back to where it all started… in America! What you ask? Italian meatballs in America? 

    I was shocked too when I first found out the concept of spaghetti and meatballs together was not born in Italy. But I promise these meatballs in sauce are 100% Italian whether you pair them with your spaghetti or not.

    If you want tender and moist meatballs the secret is stale bread! Soak the stale bread in milk for 5 minutes. Once the milk has been soaked up by the bread, squeeze out the excess milk and crumble the bread into your beef mixture. This will truly transform your meatballs into next level stuff! Do not skip this step, it’s seriously going to change your life.

    Many meatball recipes you will find use beef mince alone. Beef can dry out quite easily especially if the mince is very lean. This is why I prefer to use a 50/50 mixture of beef and pork. The pork mince not only gives the meatballs so much more flavour but due to the higher fat content it will make your meatballs juicier and more tender.

    Meatballs in sauce are perfect for freezing and the sauce recipe below can also double up as a pasta sauce. Versatile, easy and delicious!



    For the meatballs 

    • 4 slices white bread
    • ½ cup milk
    • 500 g beef mince
    • 500 g pork mince
    • 3 garlic cloves crushed
    • 1 carrot grated
    • ¾ cup parmesan cheese
    • 1 egg
    • small bunch parsley finely chopped
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    For the sauce

    • 1 onion chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves crushed
    • 1 carrot finely diced
    • 1 stick celery finely diced
    • 2 fresh bay leaves
    • 2 400g cans crushed tomatoes
    • 600 g jar passata
    • small bunch fresh parsley finely chopped
    • small handful fresh basil leaves
    • 2 tsp oregano dried is fine


    For the meatballs 

    Place bread and milk in a small bowl and leave to soak for 5 minutes.

    Remove bread from milk and squeeze out excess liquid. Break up into small pieces and add to a large bowl along with remaining ingredients. Using clean hands mix until well combined. 

    Using damp hands roll into balls around the size of golf balls and place on a lined tray. place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up.

    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large fry pan on medium-high heat. Fry the meatballs in batches for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden all over. place on a tray with paper towel to soak up excess oil.

    For the sauce

    Meanwhile in a medium, heavy based pot cook the onion for 2-3 minutes or until soft.

    Add garlic, carrot, celery, and bay leaves and cook for further 5 minutes.

    Add the crushed tomatoes, passata, parsley, basil, and oregano. Reduce heat to low and season to perfection.

    Gently drop the meatballs into the sauce and simmer gently for 25 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

    Serve with spaghetti or as a main dish with a side salad and crusty bread.



    Marie Muccio
    Marie Muccio
    Food blogger (Mrsfoodiemumma) Taking the stress out of dinner time and  getting you excited about cooking.

    Your feedback

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here



    Latest Articles

    Latest edition

    #97 June 2024

    Recent editions


    Become a supporter

    The Westsider is run on the power of volunteers. Your contribution directly contributes to ensuring we can continue serving and celebrating our community.

    Related articles