Aunt Nina’s bread balls and sauce

Lynnda Cloutier


this recipe is for meatless meatballs, which are prepared in much the same way as meatballs, just with different ingredients. Bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, and herbs are combined and rolled into balls, which are then browned and simmered in a tomato sauce. This idea can be traced, not surprisingly, to Italy, were similar recipes are made as appetizers.Source unknown

pinch tips: How to Knead Dough


1 cup water.
one large egg.
three garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 3/4 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon pepper
one loaf italian bread, torn into small pieces, 16 ounces
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons olive oil
one onion, minced
two cans tomato paste, 6 ounces each
1 tablespoon sugar
three garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups water
one can diced tomatoes, 28 ounces
one can tomato sauce, 15 ounces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Directions Step-By-Step

for the bread balls: whisk the water, egg, garlic, parsley, basil, and pepper together in a large bowl. Add the bread and cheese and mix with your hands until well combined. With wet hands, form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch bread balls. You should have about 30 bread balls.
Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the bread balls and cook until well browned on the first side, two to four minutes. Do not move the bread balls until they are well browned on the first side. Continue to cook until they are well browned on all sides, about five minutes longer, turning as needed. Transfer the bread balls to a bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pot and return it to medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Repeat with remaining bread balls.
For the sauce: pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pot and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, sugar, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until the tomato paste begins to Brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the water, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for one hour.
Return the bread balls to the pot, cover and continue to simmer until the sauce is thickened slightly and the bread balls are tender, about 30 minutes longer. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, sprinkling each portion with Parmesan and basil.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Savory Breads
Regional Style: Italian