Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Spaghetti with Meatballs and Sausages

This Italian classic, great any time of the year, made a wonderful holiday dinner for good friends this past weekend. The sauce tastes even better the second day, so it's a perfect do-ahead dish.

Buon appetito!

For the Sauce:
1/3 cup olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork (or a combination of veal and pork)
1 12-oz. can tomato paste
2 medium carrots
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
1 celery stalk
1 medium onion
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 28-oz. can tomato puree
1 28-oz. can tomato sauce
1 28-oz. can ground tomatoes, seed strained
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. oregano
½ tsp. marjoram
3-4 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup dry red wine
10-15 Italian sausages

For the Meatballs:
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork (or a combination of veal and pork)
1 cup dry Italian style breadcrumbs
1 egg
5 oz. tomato sauce (from a 15-oz. can - add remaining sauce to pot)
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
¼ tsp. marjoram
½ tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

1. To make sauce, heat olive oil in large kettle and add meats, stirring until browned. Add tomato paste and fry several minutes, stirring often.

2. Process/chop carrots, celery, onion, peppers, and garlic in food processor. Add to meat and brown well.

3. Add tomato puree, sauce, and ground tomatoes. Add seasonings. Simmer sauce over low heat for 7 to 8 hours, the longer the better.

4. After about 4 hours, stir in grated Parmesan cheese and 1 cup red wine. Prick sausages with a fork and add to sauce. Wait about 30 minutes, then gently add raw meatballs.

5. To Make Meatballs: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with hands, adding more tomato sauce to moisten if needed. Shape mixture into meatballs. Makes about 24.

6. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally (and carefully to keep from breaking meatballs) to keep sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Serve with pasta, salad, crusty bread, etc. Serves a small army, and leftovers freeze well.

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