Recipe courtesy of Dolores Del Rio

Nona's Meatballs

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 10 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 3 hr
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Nona's Meatballs:

2 pounds ground meat, preferably ground sirloin, or ground round

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

2 cloves minced garlic

2 eggs

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Oil, for frying

Marinara Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3/4 cup chopped celery

3/4 cup chopped parsley

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 (16-ounce) can tomato puree

1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (16-ounce) can water (use sauce can)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and form into 2-inch balls. (Makes about 18 meatballs.) Heat a large pan coated with oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook until well browned. Reserve.

Marinara Sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, parsley and garlic, and saute until tender. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato sauce, and water and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat; add the meatballs and simmer, uncovered 2 to 3 hours.

Cook’s Note

If sauce gets too thick add more water the last 30 minutes of cooking. Serve with your favorite pasta Nona's meatballs and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.