Time To Bring Out The “Sauce” Pot

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  Ingredients

Meatball Ingredients

(I use a combination of fresh bread and dried breadcrumbs to keep the mixture moist.)


2 slices sandwich bread, torn into small pieces

1/4 cup milk

1 pound ground lean beef

1 pound ground lean pork

2 eggs

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 minced garlic clove

¼ cup finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning.

½ cup dried plain breadcrumbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Sauce Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 onion finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

One 6 oz can tomato paste

1 large basil sprig

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

Four 28-ounce containers Italian chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 ½ lbs spicy Italian sausage

Pasta

1 1/2 pounds spaghetti

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

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Directions


To make the meatballs:


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat the foil with olive oil spray.


In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk until the milk is absorbed, about 5 minutes.


In a large bowl, gently mix the ground meats with the soaked bread, onion, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, garlic, salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning.


Add enough dried bread crumbs to just hold the mixture together, about ½ cup. Add the fresh parsley.


Form the meat mixture into golf ball–size meatballs and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Bake about 30 minutes or until brown all over, turning them over halfway through the baking time.


To make the sauce:


In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the sausage and brown on all sides; then remove to a plate.


Add the remaining oil and saute the onion until tender. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two.


Add the tomato paste. Fill the empty paste can with water and add to the sauce pot. Stir and let cook for a few minutes until dissolved.


Add the crushed red pepper, tomatoes and the herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderately low heat until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 25 minutes.


Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Transfer the browned meatballs and sausage to the tomato sauce and simmer until the sauce is very thick, about 3-4 hours.


To make the pasta:


In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.


Pour in 2 cups of the tomato sauce and 3/4 cup of cheese. Toss until the pasta is well coated, about 1 minute. Transfer the pasta to large shallow bowls.


Spoon the meatballs, sausage and some of the remaining tomato sauce over the spaghetti. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese and serve.


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