Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dads' Authentic Italian Spaghetti Sauce And Meatballs by Paula Quinn

In honor of my precious dad, (and with his permission, of course) I'm about to make your lives a little more zesty! This recipe has been in my family for years. I remember waking up on Sunday mornings to the delicious aroma of dads' homemade tomato sauce wafting through our house. I'd creep into the kitchen in my pajamas and there he'd be standing over the stove wielding a ladle in one hand and his special fork in the other. (Special because he had stretched the teeth outward in order to flip his fantastic meatballs) It's all in the wrist, you know.
Now, this recipe is a little long and involves a few steps, but trust me, it's worth it.

3 large cans of Red Pack Italian Whole Plum Tomatoes
Pure Virgin Olive Oil
2 packages of Italian pork sausage (sweet or hot)
1 basil leaf
1 whole, peeled onion
pinch of Oregano
1 tsp minced or crushed garlic

For meatballs:
1 pound of ground beef
2 eggs
1/4 cup Italian grated cheese (Romano preferred)
1/2 cup Progresso bread crumbs (flavored)
1/2 water

Start early in the day as your sausage will cook slowly and add more flavor to the sauce.
Using a blender, puree your Red Pack Tomatoes. Pour your sauce, 1 basil leaf, salt, pepper (to taste), and oregano into a large pot.

Over medium heat, add about a tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tsp of minced (or crushed) garlic (about 1 clove), and 1 whole peeled onion to frying pan. Let heat. Add Italian sausage. (The flavor of the sausage gives the sauce that extra kick) Cook until brown.Add your cooked sausage (and garlic and onion from the frying pan) to your sauce and let that baby simmer.

In a large mixing bowl, add 2 eggs, 1/4 cup Italian grated cheese, salt, and pepper to ground beef. In another bowl mix 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1/2 cup water. Then add this to your ground beef.

Reheat the same frying pan you used to brown your pork sausage. While it's heating...and here's the fun part, squish it all up with your hands. Just dig right in and blend it all together. After it's mixed, scoop up, say, a spoonful and roll it in your palms until you have a small meatball. Drop it into your pan, and continue until you've used up your ingredients. Let the meatballs fry to a golden brown crispy outside. Turn over. (This is where Dad's trusty special fork made it's mark) Brown other side. You don't have to let the meatballs cook all the way through, as you're about to pop them into your sauce.

Cover the pot and let the whole shebang cook over a low heat for 2 to 3 hours. You can add more seasonings to taste.

Cook up some spaghetti or ziti and enjoy!

My dad is a fantastic cook and baker, with such delicious dishes under his belt as homemade lasagne, baked ziti, manicotti, and eggplant parmesan (all prepared with his sauce) Pasta Fagioli (pronounced Pasta Fazool) it sounds somewhat like an Italian curse word, but it's a wonderful Italian soup. Sesame seed cookies, homemade zeppole, and sprinkled honey balls.
Yes, I know what a fortunate daughter I am. Besides being a great cook, he's a great dad. He's 80 now, and has had a rough year with illnesses that have slowed his pace, but it doesn't stop him from calling me on the phone and telling me to come over (I live across the street) for some sausage and peppers, or stuffed artichokes, that he makes especially for me. And even in the hospital he stops every single nurse and each and every doctor to tell them about my books. He's believed in me since day one and is one of my greatest supporters (and promoters).
Tonight, he's back at the hospital, and I'm sitting here thinking about him and sharing, not only his recipe, but a little piece of my very first knight in shining armor.
Thank you, daddy. I love you.


Megan Crane said...

Oh, wow. That sounds delicious! Yum!

Anonymous said...

Delicious-sounding recipe, lovely profile of your father. A post with staying power; rich, satisfying, and moving. Would you consider giving this piece of (he)art a permanent home on your web site?

Kind regards, Danielle C.

Dorothy said...

Wow, sounds like Olive Garden. I've been dying to know how they get their spaghetti to taste like heaven..nothing I could ever whip up and I've made spaghetti many times in my life. I'll have to try this...thanks for posting it!

Paula Quinn said...

Megan and Dorothy, it's so delicious you won't believe your mouth. Like I said, it's a little work, but so worth it.

Danielle, thank you for the wonderful suggestion. I hadn't thought about putting it on my website, but I think I will.
Thank you :)