Because the meatballs are cooked in the sauce they are very tender and savoury. Fresh oregano is a must!
There are MANY reviews/suggestions of this sauce...I read ALL of them...here they are summed up for easy viewing: 1. Omit 3 cans tomato paste for 1 can tomato paste and 1 can tomato sauce (I used 15oz can). 2. Omit 1/2 cup of sugar for 1/4 cup sugar if you like it a little sweet, or just 2 TBSP sugar if you cant tolerate much. 3. Omit 1 cup of water and add 2 cups of water instead. Some modifications that I personally made, which doesnt reflect what other reviewers have said, is using this Hot n' Spicy seasoning salt I found in my pantry...found the original recipe a little bland...this salt kicks it up a little (cajun seasoning should work just as well). I also read the reviews of how the meat, when baked directly in the sauce, can make it oily...I went ahead and bought meat that contained 7% fat (the already packaged stuff) and the sauce turned out perfect. - 15 Apr 2008 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)
This rating is for the meatballs only. I used oatmeal instead of crumbs, but that is just preference. I can't believe how tender these come out when cooked in the sauce. Ingenious! Here's a tip I learned about meatballs... instead of rolling out each tedious one, try rolling a handfull of meat into a 1" thick rope and then cutting the rope into 1/2-1" lengths. Much faster! - 22 Feb 2008 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)
I decided to give this recipe a try today, and I'm very glad I did. I followed the recipe, except for these changes based on the other reviews I read...I used only 3 tablespoons sugar, added an additonl cup water (my family likes a more gravy like sauce, not too thick) and browned the meatballs in a bit of oil a bit...I also added a good chunk of pepperoni stick (old trick by my mom) and a half pound of beef stew chunks, browned as well, and simmered the whole thing for about 6 hours...Other than those changes, I follwed the recipe... The gravy came out phenomenal, and the whole family is looking forward to having it tomorrow as well (italian food is better the day after) So thank you Jenn, for a great recipe that can be easily tweaked to personal preference! Edited to add: I've now used this recipe a half dozen times to great success and reviews...I now double the batch and freeze half, and it keeps VERY well in the deep freeze for up to two months. All in all now my gold standard recipe to use for sauce and meatballs, NEVER again will I buy premade stuff! - 07 Jan 2007 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)