This recipe has been handed down from my great-grandmother, who came to New York from Italy. It’s been updated over the years, first by my mom who began using canned tomatoes (oh,the horror!) and then eliminating what I think is an important ingredient – the paste – because my dad didn’t care for it. When I went out on my own and living in my first apartment, it was the only recipe I knew by heart. I still make it on the stove with a slow simmer but if you are pressed for time you can substitute the crock pot and run off to where ever you are heading. It compromises the flavor a bit in my opinion, but sometimes a gals gotta do what a gals gotta do.
I have no video for the recipe yet, but check back as I make the sauce often and will have an edited version on here soon.
Tomato Sauce with Meatballs and Sausage
1 package Italian Sausage, poked several times with a fork
2 lbs ground beef
1 cup unflavored bread crumbs
garlic salt to taste
1 tbs blended Italian Spices
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 6 oz can tomato paste
6 oz hearty red wine
2 15 oz cans crushed peeled Italian tomatoes – premium brand
Make the meatballs by combining the ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs and garlic salt. The meat should pack together well but not be too moist. Form into balls about the size of a golf ball or slightly larger. Set aside
Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot. Heat over medium high until shimmering. Add the sausage and brown on all sides. Make sure the skins are poked to let the oils out of the casings or they will burst. When the sausages are brown, remove from pot. Add the meatballs to the pot, leave enough room to turn the meatballs around on all sides. Brown the meatballs, giving each side sufficient time to cook or they will stick to the pan. Remove and add the rest of the meatballs. If needed, add a scant tablespoon of oil to the pan. Remove all meat and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
If needed, add a little oil to the pan. Add the onion and garlic to the pot, cook until soft. Add red pepper flakes to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon, more if you like it spicy, and the oregano. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the onions. Pour in the wine and stir to combine into a thick sauce that covers the bottom of the pan. Add the two cans of crushed tomatoes plus a can full of water. Add all the meat back to the pot and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add sugar and salt to taste about halfway through the cooking process. The sauce will reduce by 1/3 in the pot over 3 hours. Before serving, add a handful of fresh chopped basis and/or thyme and/or oregano. All will add flavor.
Serve with hot cooked pasta or use in lasagna.