I have no idea what the difference is between marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, what have you. I don’t mind buying spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce from a can or jar. But, if you have some time, it is so easy and simple and just delicious to make it yourself. During tomato season, you can roast your own tomatoes even. However, this is not tomato season so I had to do with diced and crushed tomatoes from a can.
It’s hard to really write down what you do for meatballs and marinara sauce since it’s a little different every time. I’ll explain what I did and the basics of making it, and you feel free to change up whatever you like to suit your tastes.
For the meatballs I decided to try to go a little healthier this time, so I used ground turkey along with ground sausage. I also like a lot of green, so I added a bunch of fresh parsley. If you don’t love parsley you may not want to add as much as I did.
Once everything is combined in the bowl, you need to use the best tools available to mix. Your hands. This is the important part: smoosh it good. It will be VERY COLD. Make sure you dance around and shout about how cold it is. Then run your hands under warm water so you can feel them again. Keep going! It needs to be completely combined.
You’re going to want to dredge your meatballs in flour so when you brown them you get a nice crispy brown layer. You can be healthy and bake them, but I figure a little oil never killed anyone. You can also omit the flour altogether to brown them, but I like it.
Once browned, you can add them to your sauce and let it cook for a few hours to get the meatballs completely done. Now if you’re nice and have made it with lots of meat like mine, you can fry up some extra meatballs for your roommate’s boyfriend and he will be very happy. Cook it longer so it’s not raw on the inside and you don’t kill him and make your roommate sad.
For the Sauce:
Get together all veggies and herbs you’d like to add.
I use crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes in italian seasoning. You can use what you like. Just don’t used stewed tomatoes. They taste like metal and are not good. It will ruin your sauce.
I used my slow cooker for this because it’s my favorite thing to do. However, this can easily be done on the stove. So if you must have it quickly, use the stove. Otherwise, this is a background recipe for the day.
Add in all your chopped veggies and your herbs and bay leaves. Mix it around and let it just cook. Eventually you can add in your meatballs and let it all soak together. Deliciousness awaits!
- 1 package ground turkey
- 1 package ground italian sausage
- 1/4 c freshly grated parmesan
- scant 1/4 c grated mozzarella
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup Italian style Breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- Milk (you can use anything, I had whole milk for another recipe)
- Flour for dredging
Get a big enough bowl to combine everything. Put in the breadcrumbs and add enough milk in to soak them. Let it sit 5 minutes.
Add in the egg and combine. Then add in everything but the parsley. Mix together completely.
Make sure your parsley is well and chopped. Add it in and do a final mix.
Set out a plate with flour on it. Roll your meatballs whatever size you want. Roll your meatballs in flour and put it on a plate. Do that with all the meat. Stick it in the fridge to chill for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, heat some oil in the bottom of skillet. When it’s nice and hot, take the meatballs out and put them in the pan to brown. They will be raw inside. They will finish cooking in the sauce.
Once cooked transfer into the sauce and let it cook for a few hours (in the slow cooker or about 30 minutes on the stove).
Marinara / Spaghetti Sauce
- 2 large cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 small can diced tomatoes with italian seasoning
- Fresh basil
- Fresh parsley
- dried oregano
- dried red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Dice up the onion. Add it to a skillet with olive oil to soften.
While that’s going, add the canned tomatoes to a slow cooker and put on high. Mince up the garlic. You can use more if you’d like, I just had 3 sitting around.
Add the garlic to the onions and let it continue to cook for about 5 more minutes.
Dump the whole skillet, oil and all, into the crock pot. Chop up the basil and parsley and add in as well. Put in the 2 bay leaves and about 1/2 tsp of dried oregano. Add in some red pepper flakes based on how much kick. I put in maybe a 1/4 tsp just for the flavor, but add more for more kick.
Let it all simmer away with the meatballs (or without).
Take the meatballs out and use the motor boat (the immersion blender) to blend up some of the sauce. Or if you want it completely smooth you can do that too. Add the meatballs back in and enjoy with either pasta or on some bread with mozzarella cheese.