Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

A classic recipe, these Italian Style Meatballs in Tomato Sauce will be a hit any night of the week! Moist and tender meatballs with a savoury combination of ground veal + pork, Parmigiano Reggiano, Italian parsley and fresh garlic.

We're sharing all the tips + tricks of this meatball dish, and what makes it extra special. 

Here we go!

Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce


2-28 oz. cans - San Marzano Tomatoes

¼ cup - Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 small - Onion (diced)

1 tbsp - Tomato Paste

¼ cup - Red Wine

2 cloves  - Garlic (minced)

4-6 leaves - Fresh Basil

To taste - Salt & pepper

Garnish - Parmigiano Reggiano (shaved)


Pass the tomatoes and their liquid through a food mill, fitted with a fine disc.  Set aside. 

Heat the oil over medium high heat and add the onions.  Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the onion begin to look are translucent.  Add the garlic and sauté for just 30 seconds then add the red wine. Stir and cook until the wine has almost evaporated and reduced, 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and incorporate until the onions are coated.  Add the milled tomatoes, ½ the fresh basil, salt and pepper. 

Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium–low and cook uncovered for 20 –25 minutes. Be sure to stir the sauce occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.


300 g - Ground veal

300 g - Ground pork

3 cloves - Garlic (finely chopped)

5 tbsp - Italian parsley - finely chopped

3 - Eggs

150 g - One day old bread (soaked in milk and squeezed dry)

50 g - Parmigiano Reggiano (grated)

To taste - Salt + Pepper 


Mix the veal, pork, garlic, parsley, and eggs in a bowl until well combined.  Add in ½ of the soaked bread (that has been squeezed dry) and ½ of the cheese. Mix together and continue to add more soaked bread and cheese until the ideal texture has been achieved. Adjust consistency with extra parmesan (if the mixture feels too wet) and extra milk (if the mixture feels too dry). Season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Try frying a small “test meatball” in a pan with a bit of oil and taste for seasoning. Adjust if needed and form into meatballs. Arrange on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes at 350 F in a preheated oven, or until the meatballs are golden brown.  Remove from the oven and add the meatballs to the tomato sauce. Cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes.  Serve topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.


Food Mill -- a simple & traditional kitchen tool that will transform your tomato sauce. By passing the canned tomatoes through the food mill, you remove the seeds, skins and stems (that often lend themselves to the bitter and acidic flavors in sauce) while preserving the smooth pureed tomatoes. If you try using a food processor or blender to achieve this same result, you will only be finely blending the unwanted seeds, skins, and stems rather than removing them. For tomato sauce, a food mill is the way to go to get the best and sweetest tasting sauce.

The Meat -- Feel free to swap out for your favourite blend of meats.  This recipe lends itself well to pork,  veal, and beef so mix it up and play around with the different flavours.  Each meat will add its own depth of flavour.

Tomato Paste -- This is a great ingredient that should be in every pantry. We recommend getting the one that comes in the tube for easy use and storage. No messing around with open cans, this tube is great when you just want to add a dash of tomato paste to give that extra special depth of tomato flavour.

Parmigiano Reggiano -- The king of the Italian cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano is one of our favourite cheeses to use.  Authentic Parmesan has the date of production and “Parmigiano-Reggiano” stamped on the rind and is aged 12-36 months.  Sharp, complex fruity/nutty taste with a strong savory flavor and a slightly gritty texture. 

Bread Crumbs vs Milk Soaked Bread -- Both options can be used, but for that extra moist, tender meatball we find the milk soaked bread works best. Of course, every Italian home (and Nonna!) has its traditions & preference so play around with both options, or a combo or both, and see what you like best.

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