Nannie Lu's Meatballs With Tomato Basil Sauce
Tomato Sauce:
3 Garlic cloves, whole
3 Fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp Olive oil (not extra-virgin)
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Cans (28 oz each) of crushed tomatoes
1 lb Ground sirloin
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tsp Garlic powder
2 Large eggs

Make the Tomato Sauce:

Place olive oil in a cold pot. Do not heat the oil! Add three whole cloves of garlic. Heat up the oil until the garlic is light golden brown.

Turn off the heat. Add the crushed tomatoes. Add ¼ cup of water to a tomato can pour back and fourth between the two cans (to get all the excess tomato out of the cans). Add to the sauce. Add three fresh basil leaves.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Check the sauce and stir about every 10 minutes so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Simmer, gently uncovered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour (until reduced by 30%). It should look bright red.

Make the Meatballs:

In a bowl, combine the ground sirloin, seasoned breadcrumbs, Pecorino Romano cheese, fresh parsley, garlic powder, and eggs. Mix with your hands. The consistency should be slightly soft. If it's too firm, add two tablespoons of cold water.

Check the sauce and make sure it is not sticking. If it is, add ¼ cup of water and stir.

With an ice cream scoop, form 2-inch meatballs and drop them one by one directly into the simmering sauce. Do not overlap or they will stick together.

Raise the heat to medium until there is a slow boil. Gently scoop sauce over the meatballs until they are all covered. Reduce to a simmer and let the meatballs cook for 25 to 30 minutes — do not stir during this time.

Now stir the sauce and meatballs gently. Continue to simmer for an additional 60 minutes. Check periodically to make sure the sauce is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Serve and enjoy!

When you make these meatballs with tomato basil sauce, you'll see exactly why Anthony Causi won our Meatball Showdown. With ground sirloin, these meatballs hold up to a long simmer in a rich tomato basil sauce.