Cooking with JoJo: There’s nothing like marinara and meatballs

Joey Morasse • Aug 29, 2017 at 9:08 PM

Walking in the door, the smell is amazing. For the last couple of hours, a pot of fresh marinara sauce simmered away, along with homemade meatballs that are stewing inside. 

This recipe is one of my all-time favorites. It warms the heart and wows the taste buds. This is great served with pasta as a main dish or as an appetizer. 

What you’ll need: 

The meatballs

• 1 pound ground beef.

• ½ pound ground pork.

• 2 egg yolks.

• 1 ½ tbsp. chopped parsley.

• 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped.

• Salt and pepper – a pinch of each.

The sauce

• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil.

• 3 tablespoons minced onion.

• 2 garlic cloves, minced.

• 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes.

• 6 leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces.

• Pinch of dried oregano.

• Salt and ground black pepper – a pinch of each.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, then add onion and sauté until translucent, about three minutes. 

Add garlic and sauté just until softened. Add tomatoes with their juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 45 minutes. Add the basil, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 20 minutes more. 

To make the meatballs, in a mixing bowl, combine the beef and pork. Add the eggs, parsley and minced garlic, then salt and pepper as desired. Shape into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic and sauté until lightly browned, one to two minutes, then discard the garlic. 

Working in batches and taking care not to crowd the pan, add meatballs and fry until undersides are brown and slightly crisp, five to six minutes. Turn and brown the other sides, about five minutes more. Transfer cooked meatballs to paper towels to drain, then add them to the marinara sauce. Mix gently and serve. 


Cooking since he could pull a chair up to the stove at 5 years old, Joey Morasse, of Lebanon, is the owner and operator of JoJo’s Barbecue and Catering. He is also a personal chef and offers in-home cooking classes.


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