Gambino family sauce & meatball recipe.


I grew up in the most basic, tiny (I mean seriously tiny) kitchen with two amazing cooks that shaped my life by turning out mouth-watering, delectable foods.  I’ve taken those recipes and put my fingerprint on them and today, my family enjoys my grandmother & aunt’s food with a touch of me.  Now, I don’t stick with one specific hardcore recipe.  I morph recipes to suit my mood.  This recipe represents me today.

Sauce and meatballs to an Italian, are staples, much like a chicken soup is when you’re sick.  I strive to be healthy, working out and eating right but I will NEVER give up pasta.  I can’t even fathom how to do that.  With that, here is my recipe.



3/4 cup of bread crumbs or panko (seasoned or plain)
1 egg
2 teaspoons of salt
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 of a yellow onion, finely diced
Hot pepper flakes
1/2 lb of each – ground sirloin, ground pork and ground veal


In a large mixing bowl, add the bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, garlic, onion and hot pepper flakes.  Once mixed, add the meat and blend well without over-mixing.

In a large skillet with about 1/2 cup of olive oil, heat over medium flame.  Once hot, use a melon baller and scoop out the meatballs and place into the skillet cautiously (the oil may spray up).  Cook until a nice crust is on each side (about 2-3 minutes).  Then remove and place on a paper towel lined plate tto soak up the excess oil.  Work in batches and avoid over-crowding.  Once all of the meatballs are browned, gently place them in the sauce to finish cooking.  Be cautious when stirring not to break them up.



1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped into small pieces
2 cans of San Marzano crushed tomatoes (28 ounces each)
1 can of tomato paste
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of a better quality red wine
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
3 tablespoons of dried parsley or 1/4 cup of fresh
2 tablespoons of Italian Seasonings
Olive oil
Optional:  grated parmesan (for garnishing)
Fresh basil (for garnishing)


In a large Dutch oven (I used Le Creuset) over medium heat,  pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of your pan.  Add your onion, garlic, carrots and green peppers.  Cook this down for about 6-8 minutes.  Then add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a simmer and then turn down to the lowest setting.  Cover and simmer for at least 3+ hours.  I normally let this simmer for about 6 hours.

Cook your favorite pasta according to package instructions.  Top with your sauce and enjoy!  Grate parmesan atop if you prefer or add fresh basil.

— Knead to Cook

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  1. What a wonderful recipe. My family loves homemade meatballs and sauce and your recipe sounds absolutely delicious. I hope to be able to make it sometime this weekend along with some homemade bread sticks. Thank you so much for sharing a little part of your world with us. I so much enjoy collecting recipes from all over the country, actually from all over the world. I have friends who are from Messina Italy and I’m sure they will enjoy this recipe also. Thanks again and have a great weekend.

      1. This is my new go to recipe. It’s wonderful and I make it at least once a week. I have some simmering on my stove top as I sit and type this along with some ciabatta bread raising. Hubby will be home late tonight so this is something that can simmer until he gets home and then it only takes a few minutes to warm the precooked pasta while I throw together a salad…..and dinner is served. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe.

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