Classic Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

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I loved experimenting with this recipe as the meatballs cook right in the sauce, eliminating one messy pan to clean up!  It’s crucial to let them rest in the fridge for a bit so they firm up, and not to disturb them while they’re cooking.

Get started by following this recipe to make the meatballs, and then come right back and continue on with this recipe!


1 batch Everyday Meatballs (do not pre-bake them as they cook right in the sauce)

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil



Pinch red pepper flakes

1 28-ounce can of tomato puree

1 teaspoon salt



In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and let sizzle until garlic is golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Watch carefully so garlic doesn’t burn, as that will make the sauce taste very bitter.  Add tomatoes (beware the splatter!) and season with salt. Let mixture simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

With stove on the lowest heat possible to maintain a gentle simmer, add meatballs to sauce one by one, and cover with a lid. It will be hard but please don’t touch or move them for at least 20 minutes of the 25-minute cooking time, so that they have a chance to keep their shape. Gently turn them over and cook another 5 minutes.  Meatballs should be fully cooked at 25 minutes, but it cannot hurt to cut one in half to verify.

Serve over cooked pasta of your choice, topping with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, if desired.  

I originally found this recipe over at Smitten Kitchen, and loved it! The photo above is her’s and shows how she served them on top of garlic bread, which is another great way to enjoy them.