…Then Comes the Meat

No pot of sauce is complete without meatballs and some other kind of meat. In my family, we like pork and meatballs in our sauce. It’s also great with beef, too. I can’t ever remember having a pot of Nana’s sauce without meat in it. Now, I thought perfecting the sauce was hard (see my story here), but meatballs were a whole new challenge!

I’ll start with the easy part. If you are going to add pork or beef to your sauce, the process is fairly simple. Start with whatever type of meat is cheap or on sale. Pork shoulder or sirloin, beef chuck roast, London broil, or something similar are all great options. I always prefer leaner meats, so in my pot of sauce, you’ll most likely find pork sirloin and/or London broil. You’ll need to cut the roast into smaller chunks (maybe three or four inches), and brown all sides in olive oil and garlic. There is no need to fully cook the meat at this point because it will cook as the sauce is cooking. When the sauce is done, you’ll end up with delicious, fork-tender meat, and perfectly flavored sauce. Yum!

On to the bigger challenge: meatballs. If you would have asked Nana how to make meatballs, she would have said, “It’s easy! It’s just meat, breadcrumb, milk, egg and cheese.” My next question would have been, “How do you know how much of each ingredient to add, Nana?” And she would have told me that she didn’t know but it would just have to feel right. So what does that mean? Well, the mixture after fully incorporated should be not too gooey and not too stiff but somewhere in between. I’ve definitely screwed these up a time or two (repeat sauce failures here), but after some practice, I think we’re headed in the right direction. I would love to hear your stories of any cooking successes or failures – please share them in the comments!

Nana’s Meatballs:

1 lb ground beef

1 cup breadcrumb

½ cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Parsley, garlic salt, and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together with your hands. Form into 2- to 3-inch balls. Fry on a griddle until all sides are browned. Add to sauce to complete cooking.


2 thoughts on “…Then Comes the Meat

  1. I’ve never thought of adding dairy to meatballs! (probably because my mother and grandmother were raised in kosher households) I always make meatballs with beef, cornmeal, grated onion (sometimes celery), garlic powder, parsley, salt & pepper. I usually cook them right in the sauce. I will try adding cheese in the future, sounds awesome!


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