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Garlic Lover's Meatballs and Sauce Recipe

Garlic Lover's Meatballs and Sauce Recipe

This dish is a staple in our part of the country. My daughter Amber and I invented our version after eating at an Italian restaurant in St. Louis. We came pretty close to copying that dish, but added our own little twist. —Toni Holcomb, Rogersville, Missouri
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 40 min. Cook: 20 min. + simmering YIELD:6 servings


  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 2 to 3 cups water, divided
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Additional grated cheese and minced parsley, optional


  • 1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 12 meatballs. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Brown meatballs; drain.
  • 2. For sauce, in a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, 2 cups water, tomato sauce and paste, parsley, cheese, basil, sugar and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; carefully add meatballs.
  • 3. Simmer, covered, 3 hours to allow flavors to blend, stirring occasionally and adding additional water as necessary. If desired, serve with additional cheese and parsley. Yield: 6 servings.

Reviews for Garlic Lover's Meatballs and Sauce

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Reviewed Apr. 19, 2015

"Wonderful, but I would not use all of that water. Water to can of tomato paste. Water can be added if you do not like a thick sauce. I do."

Reviewed Mar. 6, 2015

"Fantastic and makes the whole house smell amazing!"

Reviewed Jan. 22, 2013

"I bought the cookbook with this on the cover, due to this recipe! It was delicious. I made it for my parents, now that's my mom's go to recipe. we're both caterers so I love recipes that can easily be doubled and taste this fresh!"

Reviewed Feb. 15, 2011

"I don't ever want to use jarred sauce again! Also- I don't like meatballs but this recipe made me change my mind. I also used ground turkey in place of ground beef :]"

Reviewed Dec. 18, 2010

"This is a great recipe. We had it for leftovers and it might have even tasted better the second day! I used Italian seasoning since I was out of basil.

~ Theresa"

Reviewed Mar. 5, 2009

"My daddy was born in Italy; he would have been so proud of your meatballs - identical to what he used to make. I must take exception to your sauce. Water has no place in this sauce. Macaroni sauce is thick; spaghetti sauce is thin - just not thinned with water. And meatballs are not served with spaghetti in Daddy's Italy - only with macaroni. So are brachiole and sausage. You may wish to add the meatballs about the last 1/2 hour of sauce cooking - just to cook them all the way through."

Reviewed Mar. 5, 2009

"Very similiar to mine as well except I use grape jam instead of sugar and a good dash of red wine to the sauce.

Susan, Oxford, NY"

Reviewed Mar. 5, 2009

"This sounds similar to a a recipe I've used for many years, adapted from my Italian Grandmother's recipe, except that I add chopped sweet onion & my own twist, chopped bell pepper; also, you don't need to simmer the meatballs & sauce for more than 30 - 45 min, tops, or it tends to taste "over-cooked." All-in-all, a very good recipe!!

Linda V.
Cape Cod"

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