These all-beef meatballs are prepared al sugo, formed and simmered in fresh tomato sauce are ready in under an hour. They are moist and flavorful and taste as though you’ve been simmering them all day.

E very Sunday morning as a child, I would wake up to smell of garlic sauteeing in olive oil as my mom prepared ragu – a trio of meats cooked in tomato sauce from tomatoes she had processed and jarred herself over the summer. She would cook before we left for church and Sunday school, so that we could have a traditional Sunday meal around on the afternoon. We’d start with pasta with salsa di pomodoro, followed by meatballs, beef cuts, and brasciole and a salad. We’d have fruit and then finish the meal with dessert and espresso. Afterwards we’d all nap and then head to visit both of my grandmother’s (who happened to live across the street from each other) for more coffee, cakes, and snacks and return home late in the evening. These meatballs, which were a part of the traditional ragu taste like Sunday afternoons and easier days.

Mamma's Meatballs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 lb ground beef (80-20)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh, flat leaf Italian parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 jar tomato sauce (store bought or homemade)


  1. Prepare your tomato sauce and simmer it in a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium high heat.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients – ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper – and mix well so that the ingredients are uniformly distributed thoughout the meat.
  3. Roll meat mixture into balls about 2 inches in diameter, and set in a plate. Remember to wash hands properly after handling raw meat.

  4. When the sauce is at a boil, reduce the flame to low, and transfer the meatballs to the sauce using a large spoon, one at a time. Gently stir to ensure no meatballs are sticking to the bottom of the pot.

  5. Simmer, covered for 45 minutes – 1 hour on a low heat. Plate and sprinkle with fresh, chopped parsley.