By Kelly Bogard

I do not know Pamela Brown, but a member of the Texas Farm Bureau staff does. Cindy Wennin, our senior graphic designer, is a good friend of mine. And a good friend of hers is Pamela Brown. Pamela was nice enough to share her recipe with Cindy and the story behind it for this week’s Texas Table Top recipe.

These meatballs are the real deal.  No short cuts or lack of elbow grease on these guys.  Several years ago, Pamela married into an Italian family, and her husband’s grandmother taught her to make authentic Italian meatballs—all without speaking a word of English.  I just love family recipes, so I knew I had to try this one.

For Italian Meatballs with Sauce, you will need…Italian Meatballs and Sauce

1 lb. ground beef (80-85 percent lean)
1 lb. sweet or spicy Italian sausage
1-1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
Olive oil
4 (30 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
6-8 cloves of garlic

I know this looks like a lot of food for a family of four, but trust me, you will want leftovers. When I got this recipe, there were no measurements for the meatballs, just the five top ingredients. The sauce is basically two ingredients plus the meatballs. I kept thinking I needed to add vegetables or herbs and spices. Cindy assured me, though, that the sauce would be great without all of the extras, and boy was she right!

First things, first. Pour all four cans of crushed tomatoes into a large stock pot. Then add your garlic cloves, smashed yet still whole. Set over low heat to simmer. Pamela suggested 1 clove of garlic for each can of tomatoes, but we really like garlic at our house, so I used two per can.

Italian Meatballs and Sauce

Next, combine the ground beef and sausage (casings removed) by hand, making sure to get the mixture well combined.

Italian Meatballs and Sauce

Now add in the cheese and bread crumbs. Knead the dry ingredients into the meat until everything is in one large ball. This may take a few minutes. Portion and roll the meat mixture into balls. There is no exact measurement for this either, so whatever size you prefer, go for it.
Italian Meatballs and Sauce

In a large sauce pan, drizzle the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and brown the outside of the meatballs. They do not need to be cooked through as they will finish cooking in the sauce.
Italian Meatballs and Sauce

Once all of the meatballs have been browned, move them to the pot with the sauce. Also add about 1/4 cup of the grease from frying to the sauce for added flavor. Place a lid on the pot and let simmer for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with pasta or even on a sub roll.
Italian Meatballs and Sauce

These meatballs are so juicy and have the most amazing flavor. The simplicity of the sauce makes it even more divine. Family time is important and making a meal of it can only add to the joy. The memories and the recipes made will last a lifetime.

From all of us at Texas Table Top, enjoy!



Recipe: Pamela Brown’s Italian Meatballs with Sauce

Summary: Authentic Italian meatballs, just like an Italian grandma makes

Italian Meatballs and Sauce


  • 1 lb. ground beef (80-85 percent lean)
  • 1 lb. sweet or spicy Italian sausage
  • 1-1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • Olive Oil
  • 4 (30 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic


  • Pour tomatoes into a large stock pot to simmer with the smashed garlic cloves.
  • Remove the casing from the Italian sausage and combine with ground beef.
  • Using your hands, knead in the cheese and bread crumbs until well combined.
  • Portion and roll the meat into balls.
  • In a small sauce pan coated with a little oil, brown the outsides of the meatballs. Do not cook through.
  • Once browned, move the meatballs and 1/4 cup of the oil from the pan to the sauce mixture.
  • Cover and let simmer for 3-4 hours on low heat.
  • Serve over pasta or on a sub roll.

Cooking time (duration): 4 to 4-1/2 hours

Number of servings (yield): 4-6