Grandma's Old Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

7 Reviews Add a Pic
  • Prep

    1 h 30 m
  • Cook

    6 h 30 m
  • Ready In

    8 h
Recipe by  cherbear

“Grandma's sauce is an old recipe that she brought over from Italy. It is a long process with strange ingredients, but they all come together to make the best sauce I have ever had. The long process is worth your trouble the minute you take your first bite.”

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Adjust Servings

Original recipe yields 24 meatballs with sauce



  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in the bottom of a large saucepan, and fry the garlic cloves 5 to 8 minutes, until brown and fragrant. Remove the garlic cloves and set aside. Place the pig's feet and pork neck bones in the saucepan and fry, turning occasionally, until the meat and bones have browned, about 15 minutes.
  2. Return the garlic cloves to the saucepan, and stir in the tomato paste and 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and pour in the tomato puree. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 3 hours, stirring from the bottom often to prevent burning, until the pig's feet are tender and the mixture begins to thicken. Stir in the sugar, pepper, and baking soda. Continue to simmer while you prepare the meatballs.
  3. Soak the torn bread with 1 cup of water in a bowl. Squeeze excess water out of the bread, and place the bread in a large bowl with the 6 beaten eggs, ground pork, ground veal, and ground beef. Mix thoroughly and form into 24 meatballs about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stir in the minced garlic and chopped fresh basil, let them cook for about 1 minute, and then add the meatballs. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and fry them on all sides until brown, about 15 minutes, working in batches, if necessary.
  5. Place the browned meatballs, along with the oil, garlic, and basil from the skillet into the sauce, stirring lightly to avoid breaking them. Add the whole hard-boiled eggs, and simmer for about 1 1/2 more hours, until the meatballs are cooked, the sauce is thick, and all the flavors have blended.

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Reviews (7)

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I grew up in Little Italy in Boston. I knew better than to try another gravy recipe other than mine, but I thought I would try something new. I added chicken broth instead of water and doubled it because the water amount didnt seen enough. Sorry...The only flavor is from a few cloves of garlic and pork. I really had to doctor it up and its still bland. I have been making gravy for 35 years and consider myself a very experienced cook. I knew this recipe looked bland but I figured what the heck. Should have listened to my instincts.



Way way too bland and not enough water or broth . I agree woith the other cook I am Italian, my Grandparents came from Italy I use pork neckbones or pork ribs or rib ends and lots of herbs & spices like oregano, basil, thyme,a couple of bay leaves a good pinch of red pepper flakes (NOT cayenne pepper) I always sweeten my gravy with a good pinch of sugar sometimes I add a little fennel seed or anise seed and always use good quality plum or Italian style tomatoes



The recipe was absolutely delicious. It was long process. I did everything in the morning then let it cook all day. For a real italian recipe this nailed it. I did make a few minor changes based on what I already had in my kitchen. Everyone in my family was very pleased.

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Amount Per Serving (12 total)

  • Calories
  • 599 cal
  • 30%
  • Fat
  • 29.4 g
  • 45%
  • Carbs
  • 38 g
  • 12%
  • Protein
  • 46.2 g
  • 92%
  • Cholesterol
  • 332 mg
  • 111%
  • Sodium
  • 1470 mg
  • 59%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet



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Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs


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Grandma's Homemade Italian Sauce and Meatballs