When I make meatballs to go into a tomato sauce, I always pan sear them to get a nice dark brown crust on them then put them into the sauce to simmer. After searing all the meatballs, I deglaze the pan with some of the tomato sauce and add it all back into the pot. Can't pass up all that flavor!
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan