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  • 1/2 rack baby back ribs (cut into pieces)
  • 2 TBLS olive oil
  • 5 29oz. cans Hunts Tomato Sauce
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 lb. ground veal
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. meatloaf mix
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
  • 4 slices bread
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBLS fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 TBLS kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2/3 C Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Parmesan cheese and basil for garnish, optional
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I have kept this recipe for my homemade sauce and meatballs a secret for the longest time…not really sure why. As I am adding recipes to my “That 70’s Food” blog, it has occurred to me what would have happened if all of these recipes from the past were never shared…it would have been a shame. So…here it is…my recipe for Homemade Sauce and Meatballs. It has not been in my family for generations…but I am hopeful, however that it be will be passed along for future generations to enjoy! This recipe for my sauce is just not for Spaghetti and Meatballs. Check out these amazing Baked Meatballs.

This is a relatively easy recipe…it’s just going to take you some time to prepare. I make in big batches so that I can freeze and use for a quick weeknight dinner, or use my sauce in other recipes of mine. I took loads of pictures along the way to help you out.

Let’s talk sauce…I like a clean sauce. I only use pork ribs and always use Hunt’s Tomato Sauce…do NOT buy the no salt added…changes the taste completely! Follow these directions, and I swear this will become your new favorite…or at least I hope so!

a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs

In a large pot, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Season the pork ribs with kosher salt and pepper. Place in pot and brown on all sides.

Pour in the tomato sauce. Stir and loosen up any browned bits on the bottom. Add in the garlic and bay leaves. Simmer on medium-low, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours. I typically judge when the sauce is finished if I can smash a garlic clove against the pot. Smash the remaining cloves. When the sauce is finished, remove and discard both the pork ribs (you basically cooked all of the flavor out of them) and the bay leaves.

While the sauce is simmering, prepare the meatballs. Take the meat out of the fridge while you are preparing the other ingredients. In a large bowl, add in the heavy whipping cream. Tear off tiny pieces of the bread (I use the entire piece) and place in cream. Combine. Allow to soak for a few minutes. Mix in the minced garlic, fresh parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Unlike other meatball recipes, you do NOT need to use an egg!

Add in the meat and season the kosher salt and pepper. Combine all ingredients…do NOT over mix!

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form meatballs and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes. I flip the meatballs in the pan halfway through. This recipe will make about 48 meatballs. Reserve in bowl until sauce is finished. Once sauce is finished, place meatballs in sauce. As the meatballs are baking, prepare your favorite pasta. Check out two of my favorite pastas, DeCecco and Delallo. Do NOT forget to salt your water!

Drain pasta and toss with sauce and top with meatballs. Garnish the Spaghetti and Meatballs with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chiffonades of fresh basil! I hope you love this recipe as much as I do…please ENJOY!!!

More to Plate...

a blue and white bowl filled with caprese pasta salad


It’s the end of summer and I was looking for another way to enjoy one of my most favored salads (be sure


  1. […] for a long time. I decided a few months ago, that I should be sharing these recipes. Click here for the recipes, and to see how I make them. Basically, I just took my homemade meatballs and […]

  2. […] Definitely a few more steps than my usual recipes, but I can assure you, so worth it! I made my own sauce, but you can skip this step and use one of your own, or one of your favorite jarred sauces. I like […]

  3. […] restaurant, but I do know it’s one of my Hubby’s favorites. So, I had a container of my Homemade Meatballs and Sauce in the freezer, so I used that (see link for recipe). If you don’t wish to make your own, use […]

  4. Is the recipe correct to use 7 cans of tomatoes sauce? 29oz each?

    • Hello Laura…
      It should read 5 cans…just changed. Thanks for reminding me…I have been meaning to update!

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