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Shared by Atara Bernstein

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Yield: 4-6 servingsTime: 1 h and 20 min

Shared by Atara Bernstein

Meatballs and tomato sauce with challah and red wine atop a floral tablecloth.
Photographer: Penny De Los Santos. Food Stylist: Judy Haubert. Prop Stylist: Vanessa Vazquez.

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Yield: 4-6 servingsTime: 1 h and 20 min

Family Journey

MemphisBaltimoreJersey City, NJ
Goshen, NY

This recipe comes from Pineapple Collaborative's Atara Bernstein. Read more about her family in "For Pineapple Collaborative’s Atara Bernstein, Mandel Bread and Meatballs Are an Essential Part of Tradition," and try her recipe for chocolate chip olive oil mandel bread.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup, divided
  • 24 ounces canned tomato puree
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
EasyMain CoursesMeat North America


  • Step 1

    Prepare the sauce: Place the olive oil into a wide pot over medium heat. Saute the onion for 3 to 5 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add 1 tablespoon of the ketchup into the pot, stir and cook for another two minutes. Pour in the tomato puree, 1 teaspoon salt, ⅛ t pepper, and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking the sauce on a gentle simmer for about 10 minutes.

  • Step 2

    Make the meatballs: Add the beef, 1 tablespoon of ketchup, onion powder, garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, breadcrumbs and egg into a large bowl. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined and smooth. 

  • Step 3

    Take about 2 tablespoons of the meatball mixture and roll it into a ball. Gently drop the meatball into the simmering tomato sauce. Repeat shaping and dropping the rest of the meatballs into the tomato sauce. Place a lid on the pot and simmer the meatballs and tomato sauce for about 30 minutes until the meatballs have cooked through.

  • Step 4

    Remove the lid and continue simmering the mixture for about 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.

  • Step 5

    Serve the meatballs and tomato sauce hot with challah.