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Italian sausage meatballs in a red sauce, served on a bed of spaghetti in a white bowl and garnished with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.

Italian Sausage Meatballs

These Italian sausage meatballs are cooked in a tomato sauce that’s made with crushed tomatoes, garlic, onions and olive oil. It’s really simple and very good!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Italian sausage, meatballs
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Calories 930kcal


  • 1 pound Italian Sausage casing removed or use bulk sausage
  • ¼ cup Plain Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese plus extra for serving
  • Canola Oil enough to cover the bottom of a large skillet with ½ inch of oil
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion finely diced
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 28 ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper optional
  • 1-2 tablespoons Salt for the pasta water
  • 12 ounce Package of your favorite pasta
  • Chopped Parsley for garnish, optional


  • In a large bowl, combine the Italian sausage, breadcrumbs, egg and Parmesan cheese. Mix the ingredients together until they’re just combined.
  • Shape the sausage mixture into small balls that are roughly the size of a golf ball. You should get 12 meatballs.
  • Heat the canola oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully add the meatballs to the hot oil.
  • Fry the meatballs, turning them occasionally to brown on all sides; this should take approximately 5 minutes.
  • Place the meatballs on a plate lined with a paper towel. Keep the meatballs warm by loosely covering the plate with a piece of aluminum foil, and/or place the plate in the microwave or oven, they’ll stay warm away from drafts.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium heat. Add the onions, cook approximately 3 minutes, until they're translucent, stirring frequently.
  • Add the garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano and crushed red pepper, if using, stir. Raise heat to medium-high and carefully add the meatballs to the pot, when the sauce begins to simmer, lower the heat to medium-low to low and cover.
  • Cook the sauce for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir the meatballs gently so that they don't break apart. Keep the sauce at a simmer. If it’s not simmering, raise the heat a bit, if it’s boiling too vigorously, lower the heat a bit.
  • While the sauce cooks: bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the salt and pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente, drain and keep warm.
  • Serve the sauce and meatballs on a bed of pasta and garnish with a little chopped parsley, extra Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper, on the side.


Don’t worry that the meatballs are not cooked all the way through after frying. They will cook completely in the tomato sauce.
Don’t add salt to the sauce before it’s done because the canned tomatoes, Parmesan and sausage all contain salt, it may not be needed.


Calories: 930kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 50g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 1203mg | Potassium: 1127mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 505IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 163mg | Iron: 5.7mg