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Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     A number of posts ago I mentioned that I would soon share my recipe for spaghetti sauce, so here it is.  This sauce tastes great on pizza also.  These recipes were taught to me by a friend’s mother.  Their family was Sicilian.
     You can add hot peppers to the sauce if you like it spicy, I prefer a mild sauce.  I no longer make the meatballs the traditional way that I was taught.  You are "supposed to" form the meatballs by taking some of the meat mixture in your palms, rolling it into a ball and then forcefully slapping it together between your palms several times.  I think this makes the balls hold together well.  Then the formed balls are be fried in a pan with oil until nicely browned on all sides. The browned meatballs are then traditionally put into the spaghetti sauce and cooked for at least an hour in the sauce.  I don’t do this anymore since so many people I serve my food to are vegetarian and they would not be able to eat the sauce.  Once in a while I will make a sauce and add a piece of beef and the meatballs and cook it all day until the meat falls off the bone and is very tender.  This meat sauce has a different flavor than the plain tomato sauce, it is wonderful if you eat meat, but if not....just keep the sauce and the meatballs separate.
     I now broil the formed meat balls.  No slapping, no frying.  I scoop the meat mixture with a scoop and plop the scoop of meat right onto a rimmed baking sheet and broil them on two sides.  It is faster, easier, less greasy and the meatballs hold together fine.  I usually make the meatballs with ground turkey, but you can use beef or whatever ground meat you like.  Some people are only satisfied with the traditional beef ones, and only fried.  So do what you must to please your loved ones.  
     My favorite gluten free pasta is Tinkyada, Pasta Joy.  This rice pasta is just like regular wheat pasta in taste and texture.  Occasionally, I also use some corn pasta as it is much less expensive, but believe me, the Tinkyada pasta is worth the extra money.  It has the perfect texture and satisfies a pasta craving completely.  Tinkyada pasta is made in Canada, though it does not say certified GF it is made in a facility that only uses rice and no other grain.


1 large (about 28 oz.) can Tomato Puree*
1 large (about 28 oz.) can Crushed Tomatoes*
1 6 oz. can Tomato Paste
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
8 large cloves Garlic - crushed
To taste Salt and Pepper (I use about 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.)
To taste Oregano, Basil, Parsley (fresh or dry)(I use about 1 tsp. of each herb.)
2 large  Bay Leaves
1 tsp. (secret ingredient) Sugar or Honey - I was told this made it less acidic tasting.  Some people cook the sauce with a whole carrot to do the same thing.  Remove the carrot before serving.  Some people add the rind of a piece of Parmesan or Romano cheese to the sauce to cut the acidity and add flavor.

  1. In a large stock pot heat oil, sauté garlic lightly taking care not to burn it or it will taste bitter. 
    Garlic (sliced) sautéing in olive oil.
  2. Add the tomato paste and sauté about a minute.
    Tomato paste added to sauteed garlic.

    Tomato puree after sautéing a minute.
  3. Add the crushed and pureed tomatoes and stir.  Fill one of the large empty tomato cans with water and add to the pot.  Stir. 
  4. Add the bay leaves, herbs, salt and pepper to taste.  Add the secret ingredient and stir. 
    Tomato sauce ready to cook.
  5. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to the lowest setting and simmer about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or more.  My friend’s mother cooked the sauce about 4 hours, I’m happy with about 2 hours.  
  6. Adjust the seasonings.  Stir and simmer another 20 minutes. 
    Sauce simmering on the stove.
  7. Remove the bay leaves.  
  8. The sauce can be used right away.  I think it always tastes a little better after it sits a day.  Store the sauce in containers in the freezer for later use.  It will keep in the fridge for a few days.
  • I have made this sauce with fresh tomatoes, just chop the fresh tomatoes and use about 4 pounds.  You can also use cans of whole peeled tomatoes, just puree in the blender or chop them up first. Depending upon what texture you prefer, you can use all tomato puree or all chopped or whole tomatoes.


1 lb. Ground Turkey (or you can use beef or chicken) (I have also made this same recipe using vegetarian chopped ‘meat’ or tofu.)
2 Tbs. Dried Gluten Free Bread Crumbs - I was taught to use a handful of breadcrumbs, I measured and my hand holds 2 Tbs.
1 Tbs. Grated Parmesan (or Romano) Cheese - I was taught to use ½ handful of grated cheese, about 1 Tbs. in my hand.
2 large Eggs (with beef you can use only 1 egg, the turkey tends to be drier and the extra egg keeps the meatballs moist)
3 cloves Garlic - crushed
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1 Tbs. Dried or Fresh Parsley
To taste (use less if the bread crumbs are flavored) Dried Basil (I use about 1/2 tsp.), Oregano (I use about 1/4 tsp.) Garlic powder (optional) 1/4 tsp.

  1. Preheat the broiler and place a rack about 6-8 inches from the heating element. I prefer to broil the meatballs rather than pan fry them.  It is easier, less work and uses less grease.
  2. In a large bowl add all the ingredients and mix together with a fork or your clean hands.  (Ina Gartner, the Barefoot Contessa, says that a cooks best tools are clean hands, and I agree.  Food tastes better when you get your hands in there.)
    All the ingredients mixed together in a bowl, this is ground turkey.
  3. Use a scoop to easily measure out the meat mixture.  I use a small 1 1/2” across scoop.  You can use a larger one for larger meatballs.  Place each scoop of meat on a baking sheet or pan with a rim.  Leave 1/2” between the balls.  They do not spread out while cooking.
    Meatballs scooped out onto a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Broil about 5-7 minutes until the meat is lightly brown.  Turn the meat balls over and cook another 4-5 minutes.  Check for doneness by cutting open one sacrificial meatball.  Do not overcook or they will be too dry.  
    Cooked turkey meatballs.  When they get turned over
    to cook the other side they get all disorganized.
  5. I like to make a triple batch and then freeze the meatballs to use whenever I like.  The pre-made meatballs help to make a quick pasta meal.  They also make great meatball sandwiches.

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