"This is one of my family's favorite meals, and I'm often asked to make a pot of meatballs for get-togethers. The meatballs turn out perfectly seasoned and have a great texture after being baked and simmered in sauce for a few hours. Make a double batch - they go quickly!"
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a heavy baking sheet with cooking oil, or brush with olive oil.
Mix all ingredients for meatballs together in a large bowl. Shape into 1-1/2" balls, place on baking sheet and bake for approximately 1/2 hour. If you prefer, these can also be fried in a mix of 1/2c olive oil and 1/2 c vegetable oil until lightly browned on all sides. Place cooked meatballs on a platter until sauce is prepared.
Heat the 2 tbs olive oil listed in the sauce ingredients in a large soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly golden. This releases the natural sugars in the onion.
Add the garlic to the onion and cook another minute or two to take away the raw, bitter taste. If using grated carrot rather than sugar or baking soda, add it to the pan now.
Make a well in the center of the pot and add the tomato paste. Allow to "toast" a minute in the hot pan and blend it into the onion and garlic.
Add the dried herbs and blend well. You can use your favorite dried herbs. When using fresh herbs, I usually add approximately 1 c each chopped basil and parsley.
Add the wine and stir well, allowing it to come to a boil and scraping the bottom of the pan.
Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir well
Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste. If using baking soda rather than sugar or grated carrot to reduce acidity, add it now. Add crushed red pepper.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 1/2 hour.
Add meatballs, and simmer another hour. This sauce can be allowed to simmer for as long as you'd like. Adjust seasoning prior to serving and remove bay leaves.
Serve meatballs and sauce over pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan if desired.