Traditional Italian Family Dinner

Well, 2015 is off to a perfect start! This week I celebrated my 40th birthday in style!  My sister and her family traveled down from Michigan to be a part of the celebration.  Having my sisters and niece here made this week so much more fun!  Since we all live too far away to enjoy each other’s homemade meals, we are cramming a few family favorites in the short time we have.  My sister-in-law is half Italian, so you definitely know what meal we begged her to make.  She makes a killer homemade pasta meat sauce, and her sausage and peppers were to-die-for!

I love homemade Italian!  If you are a regular here at Cafe Terra, you know that a happy dance while eating indicates a perfect meal.  The sauce that she made has a hint of sweetness to give it a unique blend of flavors on your palette.  To make it killer?  Well… she made homemade meatballs to add to the sauce.  Every bite is filled with love and happiness for sure.  Who wants seconds on this fabulous Traditional Italian Family Dinner?

Traditional Italian Family Dinner

Normally hubby and I would help in the kitchen, but this time we let my sister-in-law work her magic.  Every 15 minutes my sister, hubby, or I would inhale the aromas wafting from the kitchen.  Everything smelled AMAZING.  While we waited to enjoy the delicious meal, my sister and I played on our computer, while laughing A LOT!

Hubby and I got a new computer for Christmas, WOO HOO!  We are officially a Mac family, and I am pretty excited about that!  Our old computer was literally on its last leg, and so I had to get creative with the photo editing for the last few months.  Words cannot express how excited I am to have the ability to edit photos and share them on my blog normally.

Traditional Italian Family Dinner

In November of last year I met some wonderful people that represent Tuttorosso Tomatoes.  Since then I have been meaning to get a fun post up sharing my new found love for Tuttorosso.  Life got a little crazy with promoting my romance novel, but now we are getting things leveled out.  This recipe used the delicious Tuttorosso tomato paste as the base for the sauce, and it was fantastic!

What I recommend, is to do a taste test of five of the popular tomato companies and their tomato products.  You will see immediately how Tuttorosso will come out on top.  In November, when I met with the ladies from the company, they had us try five different companies’ diced and stewed tomatoes.  I am now a firm believer in the product, and the love that goes into each can.  (Note: If you live on the West coast, you will find “Red Gold” Tomatoes.  On the East coast, you will find Tuttorosso Tomatoes.)

Traditional Italian Family Dinner

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we all did!  There was A LOT leftover, so we froze some.  So excited to enjoy this delicious meal again VERY soon!  If you love Italian food as much as we all do, you may enjoy these recipes from the vault of Cafe Terra: Homemade Lasagna with Venison, and Homemade Focaccia Bread.

Cheers to family, food, love, and happiness!  

Traditional Italian Family Dinner

Traditional Italian Family Dinner

45 minPrep Time

2 hr, 45 Cook Time

3 hr, 30 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


For Pasta Sauce:
1 medium onion diced (1/2 for sauce, 1/2 for meatballs)
3 Tbsp of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 (12oz) cans of tomato paste (3 cans of water per can of paste)
2 Tbsp of dried oregano
2 Tbsp of dried basil
2 dried bay leaves
6 Tbs of sugar
For Meatballs (Optional: this recipe is usually doubled):
1 lb of hamburger (90/10)
1/4 C finely diced onions, (use onion reserved from pasta sauce)
3/4 C plain breadcrumbs
1/4 C Romano cheese
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp of granulated garlic
1 egg
Splash of milk


For Pasta Sauce: Heat olive oil in the bottom of large pot, add onions and garlic, cook until they soften. Add tomato paste and water, whisk until the consistency is smooth.

Add oregano, basil, bay leaves and sugar. Turn heat up to high until the sauce starts to boil. Once it boils turn down low. Note: after it reaches the boiling point, cook for two hours, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

For Meatballs: Either bake or pan fry the meatballs.

For baking meatballs, preheat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients together. Split hamburger in half, roll out meatballs with one half and save the other half for the meat sauce. Place meatballs in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Heat frying pan with a coating of olive oil on the bottom of the pan. Add the other half of the hamburger to the frying pan and brown. Once it's done add it to the sauce. Also add the meatballs after you take them out of the oven.

Top cooked pasta with sauce, meatballs and Romano cheese.



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