November 1, 2014

meatballs + sauce

After I had Louisa my neighbor, Cara, brought over dinner to my family. Cara is Italian (in every wonderful way) and made her delicious spaghetti and meatballs. It was really good and David asked me to get the recipe from her. When I asked, the recipe was more of a "a little of this, a little of that" kind of recipe, which is not helpful for a lot of people who aren't comfortable with that laissez faire attitude to cooking. Nevertheless, I was ready for the challenge! Using her tips, and combining a few suggestions from Yia-Yia's sauce recipe, I am pleased to announce that I have perfected meatballs and red sauce.

I am admittedly not a pasta lover. My carb of choice is bread, bread and more bread but a big bowl of pasta... meh. I can live without it. This recipe is so great for lots of things. You can go traditional and serve it over spaghetti and grate some Parmesan cheese on top, break up the meatballs and use it as a Bolognese in lasagna or make homemade bread sticks and dip it in (my personal preference, cause, you know the "bread love affair" thing). I'm sure you could also serve it over spaghetti squash, if you're watching your carb intake, and that would be delicious too. This sauce has such great flavor and you will love it!

1 pound Italian sausage
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Remove sausage from casing and add to the pot with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and break up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through. Remove all of the sausage from the pot and put in a large bowl (leave the drippings in the pot). Turn off heat and set aside.

Add ground beef, cheese, bread crumbs, egg and seasonings to the bowl with the sausage. Mix well and form into small balls (between the size of a ping pong ball and a golf ball). Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the pot and return to medium high heat. Cook the meatballs in the oil until they are browned, turning once, (they won't be cooked through), about 4 minutes per side. Remove meatballs from the pot and set aside.

2 (28 ounce) cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
2 (28 ounce) cans tomato puree
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 cup water
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 tablespoons dried parsley
3 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Add all of the above ingredients to the large pot and bring to a low boil. Add meatballs and simmer for 2 - 3 hours.

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