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Slow-Cooked Pork and Sausage Meatballs with Porcini Sauce

Scott Phillips

Servings: 6

Meatballs from the slow cooker are truly special—the sauce permeates the meat for tender, super-savory results that are delicious even without spaghetti. Because of the way the slow cooker works, the meatballs may be slightly pink inside even when cooked through; if in doubt, an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should register 160°F.


For the meatballs

  • 1-1/2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup red (sweet) vermouth
  • 1-1/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 Tbs. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

For the sauce

  • 1 14-1/2-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms, crumbled
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 420
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 210
  • Fat (g): 23
  • Saturated Fat (g): 9
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Cholesterol (mg): 115
  • Sodium (mg): 1030
  • Carbohydrates (g): 17
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 32


Make the meatballs

  • Mix the breadcrumbs and vermouth in a large bowl and set aside for 20 minutes.
  • Add the pork and sausage to the crumbs, breaking the meat up with your fingers as you go. Add the egg, cheese, sage, oregano, salt, and nutmeg and mix until combined. Form into 12 meatballs.

Make the sauce

  • Mix the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, dried porcini, oregano, thyme, fennel, pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker until the tomato paste dissolves.
  • Nestle the meatballs into the sauce. Cover and cook until cooked through, 3 to 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. (The meatballs can stay on the keep-warm setting for up to 2 hours.) Season to taste with salt and serve.


Rate or Review

Reviews (25 reviews)

  • tmwg | 12/11/2017

    This is DELICIOUS just as it’s written!!

  • MistyRiverLady | 07/31/2016

    Outstanding. A real family and crowd pleaser. The sweet vermouth is an excellent addition. We prefer portobellos to the woodsy porchini mushrooms. Very good, too, with lean beef sub for ground pork. A "go-to" recipe at our house!

  • jazzik | 04/17/2016

    The rating is for the recipe as written. It's a decent foundation and not hard to tweak to your personal tastes, but it definitely needed some tweaking.After reading previous reviews, I decided to double the sauce. (Actually, I doubled the meatballs and quadrupled the sauce to feed a crowd.) We still would have liked more, so I cannot imagine how dry the recipe as written must be. I was also not a fan of the vermouth-soaked breadcrumbs, which I thought left a distinct taste in the finished meatballs.I ran out of time for slow cooking, so I made these in the oven: I preheated an enameled dutch oven in a 450 degree oven, sprayed it with canola oil, dropped about a third of the meatballs into the hot pan, and baked them for about 11 minutes. Repeated that with two more batches, then drained off the fat, layered the browned meatballs with the sauce, put the lid on, and stuck it all back into the oven for another 18 minutes.Aside from the breadcrumb issues, my fiance, our friends, and I all agreed the flavors were very good, not bland at all. I would make it again in the way I described, but with four times the amount of sauce, breadcrumbs soaked in low sodium chicken broth, and some roasted garlic added to the meatballs to add back some of the lost sweetness from the vermouth.

  • Abbotsford | 11/05/2015

    I would give this meatballs a 3-1/2 stars! First of all, no red vermouth, so used white. I prepared the meatballs a day ahead of time, so ended up baking them to release some of the fat. I used my own tomatoes for the sauce. I warmed up the sauce first, then added the meatballs. The sauce at the end of cooking was almost burning to the side to the crock and there was only enough sauce to cover the meatballs ...very little to go over the rice I served. There would be no way that this could go over pasta ...not enough sauce! As for the meatballs, I used an ice cream scoop and measured out 32 meatballs, so enough for 2 meals. Next time, I would use 28 oz tomatoes, bump up the seasoning a bit and cook the meatballs on low for 3 hours.

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