Italian Spagetti and Meatballs
From the Kitchen of Michael Murphy
1 gallon of peeled plum tomatoes
2 large green peppers, diced
2 large onions, diced
2 to 8 large cloves of garlic sliced with a razor blade to 1 molecule in thickness.
Dried Italian bread (Italian breadcrumbs may be substituted, but spring for a decent name brand)
Mushrooms, if desired.
(Mixed Italian Seasoning may be substituted for everything but the Bay Leaves, but spring for a decent name brand)
1 large egg
1 pound very lean chopped beef
˝ pound hot Italian sausage
˝ pound Italian sweet sausage (Real NY Italian Sweet Sausage), not the PA “make believe” stuff.
2 or 3 small cans of tomato paste
Fry sausage in a little olive oil on low heat until golden brown in the pot you are going to cook your sauce in. Pour off excess oil and remove the sausage, setting it aside.
Add the tomatoes to the pot and simmer on a low heat, mashing the tomatoes and stirring constantly being sure to get the sausage dripping off the pot bottom.
After the tomatoes have cooked down a little, add the tomato paste and bring to a simmer. Remove 2 cups of sauce and set aside.
Fry the diced onions, green peppers (and sliced mushrooms) until golden brown in a frying pan with a little olive oil. Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute.
Take 1/3 of the mixture and set aside putting the remaining mixture into the sauce pot along with the cooked sausage.
Add meat balls.
Cook on a low, low heat and stir often until the flavors marry. Add some grated chesses.
Burn it and ALL your hard work is for naught.
Mix ground beef with egg, Italian seasonings, some grated cheeses, the remaining pepper and onion mixture, and some of the sauce you set aside. Add small amounts at a time until it “looks right”. Too little spices and cheese is better than too much. Add some bread crumbs until it is workable and able to hold the shape of meet balls. Not too much, add a little at a time.
Make the meat balls and fry in olive oil on a low heat until brown. Add the meat balls to the sauce. Ladle some sauce into the frying pan and scrap up the beef off the bottom. Add this all to the sauce. (This why we use very lean beef.)
If I don’t have time to make my own, Barilla is my favorite brand. You can’t kill it. Otherwise, follow the directions on the box to cook. Add a little salt and olive oil to the water. After it is done, strain in a colander, rinse and put back into pot. Add a couple ladles of sauce and cook on a medium heat stirring constantly until the sauce is “absorbed” into the spaghetti. This is very important and should not be overlooked. This is what separates the Italian cooks from the “wannabe’s”.