This is a great recipe to make on a cold Sunday as it will fill the house with delightful cooking aromas. My mother used to buy the fresh ground beef and pork products in “family pack” quantities, then she would apportion the ingredients into her own packages, creating meatball kits. Each kit contained a separate freezer paper wrapped package of ground beef, ground pork, two bone in ribs or pork chops and three slices of bread in a large ziplock bag. This not only saved time in preparation but assured that she would defrost only what she knew she could use immediately.
Begin by preparing spices. Both the sauce and meatballs will use many of the same spices. It may be easier to prepare a quantity of minced garlic and green onion, then measure it into prep bowls for the sauce and the meatballs, separately.
As with all sauces and stews, the proportion of spices is only a suggestion. If you really love garlic, basil, or oregano, you can always add more to the sauce. I find mincing about a quarter to half a small garlic bulb is sufficient for this recipe.Ingredients:
For the Sauce:
Olive Oil, use by the Tablespoon
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 pork ribs with bone in
2 Tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 minced green onion
Tomato paste – 1 can 12 ounces, 1 can 6 ounces
12 ounces of red wine
15 ounce can of crushed/petite-diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon each, onion and garlic powders (optional)
Smidgen of celery salt
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
About 1 pound ground beef
4 ounces ground pork sausage
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 Tablespoon fresh minced parsley
1 teaspoon minced green onion
¾ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
3 slices of Pepperidge Farm rye bread (or similar style — crusts removed and picked into small soft breadcrumbs)
In a large Dutch Oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
2 pork ribs, salted and peppered to taste.
Cook the ribs until the meat is browned. Lower the heat to the lowest steady setting. Add:
2 tablespoons of minced parsley and the green onion, then add the two cans of tomato paste. Use a narrow rubber spatula to get all the paste out of the can, then pour 6 ounces of the red wine into the empty 12 ounce can and swirl. Slowly pour the red wine into the paste mixture, stirring constantly. Repeat with the second six ounces of red wine. Add the 15 ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes slowly. By now the sauce will be hearty, but not so thick that a wooden spoon could stand upright in the center of the mixture. Add black pepper, basil, oregano, onion, and garlic powders (if desired) and just enough celery salt (a pinch will do) to bring out the flavors of the other spices. Allow to simmer on a low setting/flame while you make the meatballs.
Add all ingredients except the egg and to a large mixing bowl making sure to sprinkle the spices as evenly across the mixture as possible. Give the egg a whisk and then pour it over the meat mixture using clean hands to press the breadcrumbs and spices into the two types of ground meat. The egg acts as an emulsifier.
Prepare a large non-stick fry pan by gently heating it. If it is not non-stick, you may want to prepare it with a bit of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon). Prepare a small bowl with about 1/3 cup of flour. Pinch enough between your clean finger and thumb to roll a two-bite-sized meatball. Roll each of the meatballs in the flour and place in the frying pan.
You don’t want to make these too large, or they will not cook through. I make mine large enough to break in half with a fork and savor each bite-sized half. With the ingredient quantity above, I made about 42 meatballs. (Not all of them made it into the sauce.)
The meatballs should have a slightly browned shell. Check to make sure your meatballs are cooked all the way through. There should be no pinkness in the middle. Remove from the pan into bowl or pot lined with paper towels. Remove any surface greasiness before dropping into the sauce.
Allow the meatballs to simmer in the sauce on low heat while you prepare a green side salad, then the pasta. This sauce is quite tasty of the first day, but even better if cooled and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator overnight. The sauce can also be stored in the freezer in 2 portion-sized containers for a quick and delicious dinner over freshly boiled pasta.