Real Italian Spaghetti
Sauce and Meatballs

My mother was born in Northern Italy and she taught my two sisters and me how to make traditional Italian spaghetti sauce. She insisted it was not REAL spaghetti sauce if it contained onions and to this day I never order red sauce in a restaurant because invariably restaurants Americanize their sauce and make it with onions.

Here is the REAL thing - at least according to my Italian mother.


Spaghetti Sauce

  • 2 (28 ounce) cans tomatoes (crushed or whole)
  • 1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sweet basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 whole bay leaves


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet basil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups soft bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten


  1. Spaghetti Sauce: Place all ingredients in an uncovered Dutch oven, heat to a boil and then immediately reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  2. Meatballs: Mix together until well blended. Form into meatballs and place on jellyroll pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for one-half hour.
  4. Once the spaghetti sauce starts to simmer, add meatballs.

Shared with by JoAnn Heskin.