Jim’s Marinara Sauce, and Mom’s Meat Balls

Marinara Sauce

In a perfect world, home made marinara should be made with vine ripened tomatoes picked at the peak of the season.  But then there is the blanching and peeling all necessary before the cooking begins.

This recipe trims a few corners but I double the recipe (it takes the same amount of time) and freeze it in 1 cup freezer containers and draw on it for a simple pasta for two, or multiple cups for dishes like lasagna or stuffed shells.

Note: recipe below is a single batch.  Double the recipe and use a good quality 8 quart pot.

Double batch ready for the Freezer.
Double batch ready for the Freezer.
2  Tbs. Olive oil
2  Medium Onions, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped  (I use more)
1 28 oz. can Diced Tomatoes, preferably Italian brand
1 28 oz. can Strained Tomatoes, preferably Italian brand
3 Tbs. Tomato paste
1/2 bottle Dry red wine (375 ml.) Good quality or better
2 Tsp. each Dried: Oregano, Basil, Thyme
2 each Bay Leaf
To Taste Sea salt, black pepper, sugar

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and saute about 1 minute more.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, oregano, basil, thyme and bay leaf and simmer on a low heat until thick, stirring occasionally, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar before serving.


You can serve immediately.  Or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.

Serving suggestions:  Use this sauce for pizza or serve over polenta with grated cheese of choice.

Mom’s Meat Balls

Mom and Jim, Italy 2009
Mom and Jim, Sardinia 2009

John’s Mom is one of the best cooks ever.  She has taught me so much about cooking, especially Italian cooking.  Many of the family recipes have no portions, just a little of this or a pinch of that.

We love the recipe below because it can be used so many different ways.  Added to any kind of pasta sauce, served as a side dish or with a crusty Italian roll or French baguette with a little spicy jardinere.

1 lb.  Ground chuck (beef)
1 lb.  Ground pork
1/4 cup (or less) Bread crumbs  (to bind)
Garlic cloves to taste, finely chopped
1/4 cup (or less) Grated Romano or Parmasean cheese
1 egg, (2 eggs if you are adding 1/2 lb. or more meat to the base recipe.)
Fresh Parsley to taste, finely chopped.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl until evenly mixed.  Hand roll into balls of your choice, about 1-1/2 inch give or take to your personal preference.  Place a sheet of parchment paper on a lipped tray and space the meatballs evenly apart.

Ready for the oven!
Ready for the oven!

Roast in a 400 degree oven until brown, about 20 minutes (+/-).  Cool, use immediately or freeze in plastic zip lock bags for up to 30 days.




3 thoughts on “Jim’s Marinara Sauce, and Mom’s Meat Balls”

  1. ‘Glad to have a good recipe for meatballs; and I was surprised to read of roasting in oven rather than sauteing in a pan. I will try it next time. You are correct about recommending Italian brand tomatoes or tomato sauces. They are the best!

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