Let’s talk Italian! Specifically homemade Italian sauce and meatballs. Today I’m sharing our family’s recipe for real Italian sauce and meatballs. They’re gluten-free and absolutely delicious.
Fresh ingredients really do make all the difference. l love this time of year because most of the ingredients are straight from our own garden. My husband does an incredible job growing fresh tomatoes, basil, oregano, and garlic. And we also make our own red Chianti wine.
Let’s make the sauce first. Please know that I’m a true Italian and I measure by sight and taste so all measurements are approximate.
Ingredients for Homemade Italian Sauce
- Approximately 20 garden tomatoes (fresh tomatoes preferred; Pastene or Tuttorosa ground peeled/crushed tomatoes are a good alternative)
- 1 small to medium onion (diced)
- 4 large cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- A large bunch of fresh basil (stems removed). If using frozen fresh basil, use approximately 1/2 cup. Go HERE to learn how to freeze fresh basil.
- 1/8 cup dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup red Chianti wine
- 1 heaping tbsp white sugar
- 1 large or 2 small cans of tomato paste (I prefer Pastene brand, but Hunts is ok too).
- Pork: 6 links sweet Italian sausage or a few pork chops
Fill a large pot 1/2 way with water and bring to a boil. Place whole tomatoes into the water for about 3-5 minutes or until you see the skins are starting to loosen. Remove the whole tomatoes and drop them into the sink filled with cold water. Remove the loose skins then place the whole tomatoes in a Ninja blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
In large pot, add the diced onion, minced garlic, and olive oil. Simmer on low until soft. Add the blended tomatoes, fresh basil, oregano, black pepper, red wine, sugar, and tomato paste to the pot.
Best Tip: You must cook the pork (either pork chops or sweet Italian sausage that contains pork) in the sauce to flavor it.
Simmer the sauce on medium-low for approximately 2 hours. And let’s make the homemade meatballs…
Ingredients for Gluten-Free Italian Meatballs
- 3 lbs ground beef (85% fat)
- 1/2 lb ground pork (optional)
- 4-5 large eggs (approx. 3 eggs for every 2 pounds of meat
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley (chopped); dried parsley as an alternative
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp garlic salt
Place the raw sausage links in the sauce to cook.
Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Form meatballs approximately 2-inches in diameter. Place meatballs on a shallow baking sheet. Be sure the baking sheet has a raised edge to catch any oil. Three pounds of meat will yield about 20 meatballs.
Note: Many people add breadcrumbs to meatballs. To keep them gluten-free, do not add any breadcrumbs. They are delicious without them.
Broil meatballs until slightly brown, then flip and brown. Place the meatballs in the sauce to finish cooking.
Best Tip: The fresh herbs, red wine, and pork make the biggest difference in creating a the best Italian sauce.
Allow the meatballs to cook in the sauce for at least 30 more minutes to cook through.
Enjoy your delicious homemade, gluten-free Italian sauce and meatballs! In tomorrow’s post, I’ll share how to make gluten-free lasagna with ricotta cheese and spinach.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products I love and use myself.