Sinatra Meatballs / Tomato Sauce Recipe


Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 1.44.31 PM.png

Frank Sinatra’s music is timeless and his fans cross several generational lines.  Most probably know that while he was born and raised in Hoboken, his family was 100%, all the way Italian.  What many probably don’t know, however, is that Frank once tried his hand in the food business, packaging and selling his Mom’s Marinara Sauce.  Heidy from The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch brings us the story of how Frank used his celebrity to launch a jarred sauce, which was said to be his Mom’s signature recipe.  It was launched at a private party at Morton’s and available in select California grocery stores in the 80’s.

Frank also shared this recipe, along with his favorite meatball recipe, in the WFBL Cook Book Of The Stars.  We’re not sure if the “Mrs.” referred to in the clipping title refers to Frank’s Mom or wife, but either way, it looks like he was quite the connoisseur of some good Italian food!  We don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to turn on some Sinatra, pour a glass of red and whip this up for dinner this weekend!



2 tbsp. light olive oil
3 whole cloves garlic (pierced w/fork)
2 cans oval “Italian type” tomatoes
Salt, pepper, oregano to taste
Basil, bay leaves, 1 tsp. finely chopped parsley (if desired)

Quoting Mr. S: (Fragmented sentences and all.)

FRANK SINATRA tells Sid Mark, step-by-step HOW He Makes TOMATO SAUCE

“You begin with a skillet and you use a light kind of olive oil and put in about 2 tbsp. full and put in 3 whole cloves of garlic. I usually puncture the cloves with a fork so it will exude the flavor I want. When the garlic is tanned or light brown take it out of the oil and throw it away. Keep the oil.”

“For 4 people you can take 2 cans of the oval shaped tomato and you put each can in a blender and count about a “slow four” to grind it up and put it in a saucepan…do that with both cans. Add a pinch of salt and a little bit of black pepper and little bit of oregano…maybe ½ tsp. full. Add the oil. I used to watch my dad do it. He’d just take his fingers and he’d take so much and throw it in the pot. And you let it simmer.” …

“Now…VERY IMPORTANT because this is what you don’t find in restaurants because they can’t take the time to do it. You take a good sized tsbp. And whatever oil or foreign matter that comes to the top; just keep skimming it until you have a pure red sauce. Low flame and cook for about ½ hr. and just let it sit there until you are ready to turn on your water for your pasta.”

“You want to put a couple of bay leaves and fresh basil is wonderful…at the last minute.”

“So you’ve got in the sauce olive oil, garlic, pepper, salt, oregano, a couple of basil leaves and, if you wish, a teaspoon – tablespoon. Of finely chopped parsley and that’s the way to make a simple pasta sauce.”



  • 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 1/2 of a pound ground pork
  • 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup whole Milk
  • 1/4 each of a cup grated Pecorino Romano and Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped parsley
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon Salt 
  • 1 tablespo0n freshly ground Black Pepper 

Place breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, mix and let set for 5 minutes.

Add ground meats to bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and cheese and mix with you hands.

Add eggs and continue mixing with your hands.

Shape the meat into Meatballs to your preferred size.

There are two different methods to cooking meatballs in sauce. One is to first fry and brown the meatballs in oil, then add to Tomato Sauce to finish cooking. The second way is to just drop the raw meatballs into a Tomato Sauce that has already been cooking for at least 15 minutes. Just drop the raw meatballs into the sauce and let simmer at low heat until the meatballs are cooked through (about 30 minutes more).

You’re now ready to make Spaghetti & Meatballs or with Rigatoni or bake in the oven with the Pasta of your choice. Enjoy!









Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s