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Video: Cooking up classic tomato sauce and meatballs

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    >> back now at 8:52, this morning on you can do this, how you can make the best meatball in america. they're the guys behind the popular meatball shops here in new york city . good to see you.

    >> how are you?

    >> hi guys.

    >> how hard is it to make a meatball.

    >> so easy.

    >> we can do this.

    >> about as easy as it gets. let's start with the sauce. what's is secret.

    >> patience. a lot of people make a red sauce and they're in a hurry.

    >> you need to start this up early.

    >> we have been cooking these onions for a couple of minutes.

    >> okay.

    >> and ideally you cook the onions for 15 minutes . if you're talking about two hours total time maybe it's 45 minutes before the tomatoes get in the pot.

    >> okay.

    >> sweat the onions until they're nice and soft. we like to add garlic oregano.

    >> this is a good meal to make on a sunday and have the left oefrs on tuesday and meatball sandwich on friday.

    >> you got it.

    >> i'm thinking practically.

    >> the best part about meatballs the longer they sit in the sauce the better they get. you never have to be in a rush. put them in the oven and when you're ready to eat they're ready for you.

    >> tomato paste .

    >> tomato paste and 5 minutes of stirring until it gets a nice dark rick red color .

    >> nice.

    >> and we can smell that.

    >> in go the tomatoes.

    >> what kind of tomato are you using there?

    >> we use a thin style tomato. it's more acidic. we use canned tomatoes . they're available all the time and they pack them in the height of summer.

    >> i love that you use canned tomatoes .

    >> yeah.

    >> how long does that have to come together.

    >> about 45 minutes and the consistency will coat the back of the spoon.

    >> let's move on to the meatball itself.

    >> are you ready to get your hands dirty?

    >> why not.

    >> the ingredients are simple. two pounds of beef. we have ricotta cheese . bread crumbs. two eggs. two hole eggs.

    >> how do you keep your meet meatballs moist. is that the cheese?

    >> it's a combination of the cheese and the fat consent in the beef.

    >> can you use chicken?

    >> you can. we have chicken meatballs at the restaurant. parsely.

    >> nice.

    >> a couple of pinches of salt. this is sample.

    >> then we mash it up. okay. looks like chilly pepper.

    >> oregano.

    >> i have to be honest, this is something -- you don't want to do this in front of your guests. i don't want my guests seeing me do this.

    >> you have to get your hands in there too man.

    >> let me get in here.

    >> you don't want your guest to see two hands.

    >> six hand miss that bowl.

    >> this restaurant has a c grade.

    >> are you ready to dip your hands in here.

    >> i don't think so.

    >> we did dessert.

    >> how do we roll a perfect meatball.

    >> we take an ice cream scoop at the shop. dirty hand here. take an ice cream scoop, about two ounces.

    >> got it.

    >> super simple like that. pop them in.

    >> that's perfect.

    >> you don't even have to roll them.

    >> i don't like them when they're not round and perfect.

    >> we have a few seconds. roast them here?

    >> in the oven, about 17 minutes and bingo.

    >> can we taste them?

    >> there we go.

    >> you sure can.

    >> whole thing comes together with the sauce. sauce, meeatballs. you can get these. they're delicious. nice party snack.

    >> thank you. back after your local news and weather.

TODAY recipes
updated 7/15/2013 9:27:30 AM ET 2013-07-15T13:27:30

Recipe: Classic tomato sauce

  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 bay leaf (fresh or dry)
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dry
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 28-ounce cans tomatoes

Cook the onions, with the olive oil, oregano, bay, garlic and salt over a medium heat in a large pot, stirring constantly until soft and translucent (about 15 minutes). Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for five minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and stir constantly until the sauce begins to boil. Continue cooking for 1 hour stirring every four or five minutes such that the sauce does not burn. Season with extra salt to taste.

Serving Size

Makes 7 cups

Recipe: Beef meatballs

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile flake
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, ground
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, chopped
  • 1cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated. Drizzle the olive oil into a large baking dish, making sure to evenly coat the entire surface. Roll the mixture into round, golf ball sized meatballs making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls into the oiled baking dish such that all of the meatballs are lined up evenly in rows and are touching each of their four neighbors in a grid. Roast until firm and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

While the meatballs are roasting, heat 4 cups classic tomato sauce in a small pot over a medium-high flame, stirring constantly. When the meatballs are firm and fully cooked, drain the excess grease from the pan then poor the tomato sauce over them and continue roasting for another 14 minutes. 

Serving Size

Makes about 24 meatballs

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