Bubbi’s Meatballs: Have A Safety Trip

I can still remember the smells coming from my Bubbi’s kitchen when I used to go there on Saturday afternoons for a multi-course lunch.  Sweet and tender meatballs that taste like they’re from the old country can never be a bad thing.  This is a classic recipe that has been used by my family since I was a kid.  Now I use it at parties and it never disappoints.  As my Bubbi used to say in her broken English, and as my entire family now says before embarking on a journey, “Have A Safety Trip.”

*Try using a wholewheat or spelt pasta with this recipe and you can easily reduce how sweet the sauce is by adding the brown sugar to taste.

Ingredients for Sauce

  • 1 large can Hunt’s tomato sauce
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

*Make sauce first before meatballs: takes 1 to 1 1/2 hrs to cook


  1. Mince onions – cut as finely as possible
  2. In large pot – put half cup of oil in pot and heat on medium heat
  3. Add onions
  4. Sauté onions lightly – for a couple minutes until transparent
  5. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and 1 tin of water
  6. Add 2 heaping tbsps of brown sugar – stir and add sugar to taste (you may add 4 – 5 tbsps in total)
  7. Cook on medium/low heat for 1 hr to 1 1/2 hr – so flavors mix together
  8. Taste and add sugar if necessary


  • 4 1bs of meat (chicken/veal/beef)
  • Add 1 egg per 1b of meat
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic minced or 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • Pepper (as needed)
  • Onion flakes (sprinkle on top of meat while mixing)
  • 1 tsp of chicken powder


  1. Get a big mixing bowl and big fork. Break an egg in one at a time and mix with the meat
  2. Add in bread crumbs
  3. Toss in all the other seasonings
  4. If it’s a very dry mixture add 1/4 cup of water
  5. Line pan with double tin foil. Make meatballs. Drop onto pan
  6. Cook big ones half-way and add little meatballs
  7. Preheat oven to broil for 10 – 15 min
  8. Broil – place tray of meatballs in the middle of the oven
  9. Wait until they are browning. When brown, flip them
  10. It should take no more than 15 min
  11. Don’t worry if a lot of liquid comes out of the pan
  12. Use tongs or two spoons – preferably a spoon that has holes in it for draining
  13. Add meatballs to sauce and let sit on simmer – low heat – not hard core bubbling – hot and a little bubbling for 30 minutes
  14. Put meatballs in pan without any of the liquid from the broiler pan
  15. Taste it and add sugar if necessary