Nonna’s Meat Sauce

There is nothing that reminds Tate’s dad of home more than a bowl of pasta with his favorite homemade meat sauce. During the holiday time, we took advantage of having family in town to watch and record the coveted process of making this delicious meat sauce. This is a recipe that has been passed down multiple generations and makes a very hearty Sunday family dinner. Note: this recipe makes A TON of sauce. Feel free to modify to the portion size that fits your family best or make this and freeze a bag or two or three!

Nonna’s Meat Sauce
Makes: 16 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 13 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup dried parsley
  • ¼ cup Italian seasoning
  • 3, 28oz cans peeled tomatoes
  • 2, 28oz cans crushed tomatoes

Meatballs

  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 7 eggs
  • 4 oz pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 tbs black pepper
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 6 slices white bread
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 lb Italian hot sausage links
  • 1 lb Italian sweet sausage links

Directions:

For the sauce

  1. Heat a large stock pot with 5 tbs canola oil. Add the garlic and saute until golden brown. Approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Add the dried parsley and Italian seasoning. Stir for one minute and remove from the heat.
  3. Add the crushed and peeled tomatoes to the stock pot. Using a wooden spatula or spoon, crush the tomatoes and break them down into smaller pieces. If you notice any pieces of tomato skin, remove the pieces and throw them out.
  4. Fill one of the cans of tomatoes half-way and run the water through all of the tomato cans to collect as much of the remaining tomato sauce as possible. Add the tomato water to the pot. Fill the can half way again and add to the pot.
  5. Turn the heat back on medium/high and bring the sauce to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat so that the sauce is on a low simmer. Let simmer, covered, for at least one hour.

For the meatballs

  1. Put the ground beef and eggs, cheese, black pepper and onion powder in a large bowl.
  2. Take the white bread and rinse it in cold water. Using your hands, squeeze the water out of the bread and place it in the bowl.
  3. Using your hands, blend the ingredients together. If using your hands is not for you, you can use a spoon, but we highly recommend using your hands as you will get a better mix (and it’s the Italian way!)
  4. Once the mixture is well combined, mold the meatball mix into 2-3 inch meatballs. You should get around 15-20 meatballs.
  5. Heat a large saute pan on medium and add the oil. Once hot, add the meatballs until the pan is full. Fry in the oil for 5 minutes or until the meat is browned. Flip the meatballs over and fry for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the meatballs and set aside. Repeat until all of the meatballs are cooked.
  6. Remove half of the oil from the pot. Return the oil to medium heat and add the sausage links. You will want to cook all of the sausage until browned, similar to the meatballs and add it to the tomato sauce when completed.

Bringing it all together

  1. After the sauce has simmered for at least an hour, add the meatballs and sausage, in full links, to the sauce.
  2. Cook on simmer for at least another hour to let the flavors blend and meld together.
  3. Serve with pasta and top with more cheese or parsley as desired.

Marinara Sauce

Tate’s dad is an Italian and there is nothing that he likes more than pasta with red sauce. Red sauce is a staple in both of his parents kitchens and serves as the base for many family recipes. We asked for a recipe last year and have delivered it here to you with our own twist. What we love about this sauce is that it is simple to put together but full of flavor. Depending on if you like basil or parsley, you can tweak the herbs in this recipe to cater to your individual taste. The most important part is choosing canned tomatoes that are high quality. Our personal preference is San Marzano.

You can use this recipe for dozens and dozens of dishes, including our Proscuitto Stuffed Chicken Breasts, a sauce for lasagna, or even a sauce for homemade pizza. It stores well in the freezer, so making a big batch is great to have extra on hand for later on.

Marinara Sauce

Makes: 8 cups of sauce

Active Cooking Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 80 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2, 14.5 cans whole plum tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced into thin slices
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1, 8 oz can tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Place the tomatoes and basil into a food processor and blend until completely pureed.
  • In a stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Stir the garlic and sauté 3-4 minutes, or until it is starting to brown. Add the parsley and stir.
  • Add the tomato puree and tomato paste to the pot. Stir to mix everything together well and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover the pot, and cook for at least one hour.
  • Season with salt and pepper, if desired, before serving.

Seal the Deal Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This chicken dish is really the beginning of the story for how Tate’s parents got together. After a few dates in college, Tate’s dad offered to cook a meal at his house. A little nervous, and armed with wine, Tate’s mom agreed. Her hesitation was removed at the first bite of this chicken dish. Crunchy, cheesy and filling – this dish won over her stomach and heart. Flash forward 10 years, and they are still enjoying this dish together.

Seal the Deal Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Serving Size: 4 servings

Cooking Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs chopped basil, for garnish
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (click for our favorite recipe)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Pound chicken breasts to flatten so they are even in thickness. Aim for roughly ¾ inch thick. This will help to cook the chicken evenly.
  • Take a paring knife and make an insert in each breast, leaving at least a half inch border on three sides of the chicken breast to form a pocket for the prosciutto and provolone
  • Take the provolone and prosciutto and roll together and place in the pocket of each chicken breast. Season the outside of each chicken breast with salt and pepper.

Bread the Chicken:

  • Add the salt and pepper to the flour and place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in three separate containers
  • Using one hand for dry ingredients and one for wet follow the next steps for each chicken breast:
  • Put the chicken breast in the flour and cover both sides
  • Move the chicken breast to the eggs and cover both sides
  • Move the chicken breast to the breadcrumbs and cover both sides

To Cook:

  • Put the canola oil in the pan and turn heat to medium-high.
  • Once the oil is hot (you can test with a pinch of flour), add the chicken breasts to the pan. Be careful not to overcrowd- you can do this step in two batches if necessary.
  • Cook the chicken about 4 minutes per side, or until the chicken is nice and brown. Transfer to a cookie sheet. If you are doing this in two steps, let the first batch sit out and transfer all of the chicken to the oven at the same time.
  • Place the chicken in the oven and cook until the thickest part of the breast has reached a temperature of 165 degrees- roughly 20 minutes.
  • Serve the chicken on top of the marinara so that it stays crispy! Top with fresh basil.