• Alessandra DeNardo

Summer Marinara & Meatballs

Growing up in Katonah we had a vegetable garden and tomatoes in summer. We liked to make fresh sauce with onion. You leave the onion coarse and it adds sweetness. This is an ode to that combined with some other flavors I happened to have left that turned into one of my favorite pastas I’ve ever made. Perfect for summery Sundays.


  • 1 large size sweet onion, chopped roughly

  • 15-20 cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes

  • 1 Lb pasta

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, sliced thin

  • 3-4 handfuls of spinach

  • 1/2 C fresh feta, crumbled

  • 1/2 C toasted pine nuts

  • Fresh herbs - mint, basil, parsley to taste

  • For meatballs: 1 Lb meat, 1 C cheese, 2 eggs (whisked), Oregano/Parsley, 1 finely minced garlic clove, 1 C panko breadcrumb. Fried or cooked in oven.


  1. Make meatballs (1 Lb meat, 1 C grated cheese, 1 C breadcrumb, AMPLE oregano, minced garlic clove, fresh Parsley, 2 beaten eggs, S&P).

  2. Fry in a skillet until all sides are browned and meatballs are done. An alternative would be to use chicken or turkey meat and bake meatballs for 20 min.

  3. Remove meatballs from pan and put to side.

  4. Chop onion coarsely and add it to same pan with olive oil. Cook 5 min

  5. Add 1 chopped garlic clove.

  6. Add 10-15 cherry tomatoes (halved). Cook all until juices begin to release from tomatoes. Season.

  7. Add 1 regular size or 28 oz can (depending on amount of pasta) of crushed tomatoes.

  8. Let sauce simmer 15-20 min. Add spices to taste - oregano, garlic powder, red pepper.

  9. Add pasta to salted water, add 1-2 C water from pasta to sauce after it’s been cooking for 5 min. Reserve more water for end.

  10. Add spinach, meatballs, and undercooked pasta to saucepan. Let everything simmer in sauce pan until pasta is done. Add more water as needed

  11. Garnish with: fresh feta, toasted pine nuts, and good quality olive oil.

  12. Bonus add: any fresh herbs (basil, parsley, sage, mint...) 😘.

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