Sure, you could just ball some meat, but where’s the fun in that? This is a recipe similar to meatloaf, but it works quite nicely for meatballs as well.
1 lb ground chuck
1/4 cup cracker meal or fine bread crumbs.
4 small cans Del Monte tomato sauce (substitute your favorite brand or whatever you have to settle for in your area)
1 small can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
(optional) 1 whole onion
Place the ground chuck in a medium mixing bowl. This scales up very nicely, so if you’re making 2 lbs of meat, just use 2 eggs and 1/2 cup cracker meal.
Add the egg and mix a little. You want to break the yolks and start working the meat with the egg.
Slowly add the cracker meal until you like the consistency. You don’t want the meat to get too dry. You’ll want to mix until it is uniform, no lumps.
Make a little indentation in the meat and add 1 tbsp garlic powder. Mix it in thoroughly.
Pinch off small portions and roll between your palms until you have balls. I like them a little bigger than golf balls.
Brown the meatballs in the pot you’ll use for the sauce. If you have more meatballs than will brown at once, take them out once they’re lightly browned and replace with unbrowned ones until they’re all done.
Place all the meatballs in the pot and add tomato sauce until the meatballs are covered. I find it usually takes around 4 small cans for 1 lb of meat. This doesn’t mean it’ll take 8 cans for 2 lbs. You might want to have 8 cans handy just in case, but you can stop adding sauce when the meatballs are covered.
Add a small can of tomato paste and gently stir it in. You can add around 1/2 a paste can of water at this time too to break up the paste a little. The less water you add, the thicker the sauce will be.
You’ll stir gently because you don’t want to break the meatballs.
Add the spices you want to the sauce. Mix gently.
I don’t measure this precisely, but I add around:
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 bay leaf
If you like, you can also add one whole onion to the sauce for flavor. When the sauce is done, dispose of the onion. Or, if you don’t want to waste it, chop it up into fine bits and add it to the sauce.
Once the spices are mixed in, bring it to a gentle boil, turn the heat to low, cover it and let it simmer until your pasta is done. This is usually around 15 minutes: 5 for getting the pasta ready to cook and 10 to cook. I don’t usually turn the heat off after browning the meatballs, so they’re cooking as I add the sauce and spices. This adds to the cooking time and the sauce likely will be bubbling by the time you’ve finished adding the spices.