Grandma Lill’s Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

I didn’t know my grandparents very well. My father’s parents were both gone by the time I was old enough to remember them, and my mother’s parents were pretty remote in their interactions with the rambunctious children of their youngest daughter. They were retired and moved back to their hometown by the time I spent any time with them, and I would not say it was quality time. My grandfather came to live with my mother and father when he was no longer able to live alone, but I was out of the house and long gone by then. So, when I see my friends grandparenting their own grandbabies, it makes me happy to see how involved they are with these precious children.

Recipes passed down from my grandparents? I don’t remember any, but I’m pretty good at appropriating other people’s family recipes . Over the years I have gathered together other families’ recipes and made them my own. We have only one “family recipe” that I know of, our famous Scalloped Oysters, but I don’t know where this came from.

Today’s recipe was not stolen, however. I’m lucky enough to be friends with Linda, whose mother we remembered on June 24. Everyone knew her as Grandma Lill, and although she’s not actually my grandma (she’s not even in the right generation to be my grandma), her recipe was freely given to us.

As I reread my niece Jessie’s post on Vanderbilt Wife which honors my father and her grandfather, it seems totally fitting that I honor Grandma Lill today. We paid tribute to Grandma Lill  at her memorial service and Jessie wrote her post on the eve of my dad’s memorial service just a year ago. At both events, there were new great-grandchildren who will not remember their great-grandparent, but life renews itself through the cycles of birth and death. We are also renewed through the memories we share with our children and grandchildren and that includes our recipes.

Grandma Lill embraced Italian cooking and passed her recipes down to her children. Her meatballs are famous — and I hope you will enjoy them yourself in her memory.

Lill’s Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef
1/2 medium onion — chopped fine
2 eggs beaten
1 cup Progresso Italian style bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Small amount of oil for browning meatballs
Mix all ingredients together and form into “golf ball” size meatballs. Carefully brown meatballs in oil on both sides in a Dutch oven. Remove meatballs.
Add to pot:
1 medium chopped onion
1 sliced garlic clove
Sauté until tender.
Then add:
3  12 oz. cans Contadina tomato paste
1 14 oz. can Hunt’s basil and garlic diced tomatoes
5 cans water
2 tablespoons each of dried parsley, basil, and oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add meatballs. Cook uncovered 2 hours — stirring occasionally.

While you’re at it, try the scalloped oysters. It may seem weird, but for those of you who love oysters, this recipe will just melt in your mouth.

9 responses

  1. […] post: Grandma Lill's Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs « Got My Reservations Scritto da admin in Gastronomia […]

  2. Susan Corsello | Reply

    Thank you for sharing this. Grandma Lilly would be so happy that people are enjoying her meatball recipe. A Chicago fireman came to the service and pick up a copy of the recipe. He is the cook for his fire house. He is planning make it for his fellow firefighters this week. We are thrilled to have people get to know Lill though her cooking.

  3. The best part of recipes is sharing with friends and family and mom must be smiling to see how many people will be enjoying her specialty. The recipe makes a good size pot of sauce and we sometimes freeze it in smaller portions because it reheats so well. I hope our children will make this for their children as time goes on so the tradition will continue.

    1. Venera Corsello | Reply

      Perfect! What a wonderful way to become part of FAMILY lore. I am Lill’s sister-in-law. I have relatives and friends that have come from the east coast and west coast on Holidays, with the irrisistable lure hoping to have Lill’s Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs. I’m copying & hoping to send to some Corsello Family members, to pass on to their progeny.

  4. Thanks for your generous linkage to my site and for this lovely tribute. It’s good we can be honest about our relatives while still nostalgic.

    I still don’t like the oysters. 😉 Or black olives.


  5. Thanks to everyone who visited Grandma Lill’s recipe. It got a lot of hits! Now everyone has the best-ever meatball recipe.

  6. […] visits from Mama Kat’s Losin’ It and Vanderbilt Wife that I have had since I posted Grandma Lill’s spaghetti sauce. I’d like to send out a big thanks to those ladies for their continued support for the […]

  7. […] easier for you to save or print one of my recipe posts in the future; my most-visited post is still Grandma Lill’s Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs! To me, life is not complete without trying out new restaurants and new foods and sharing recipes, […]

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