Clay's Kitchen : Ricette Italiane (Italian Recipes)

Ricette Italiane (Italian Recipes)

© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <clay@panix.com>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Mama Lama's Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

Recipe from: MedellinJohn
Servings: 8

This recipe was passed down to me from my great grandmother Josephine Lama who immigrated from Sicily to America through Ellis Island in 1904.

1½ pounds pork ribs
3 tablespoons oil
2¾ cups onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes in purée
2 6 ounce cans tomato paste
2 6 ounce cans water
3 teaspoons italian seasoning
¾ cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon dried basil
6 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
⅔ cup parmesan cheese
¾ pound ground beef
⅓ pound ground veal
⅓ pound ground pork
1 cup breadcrumbs
½ cup milk
1 egg, scrambled

Season pork ribs with a little salt and pepper and sauté in oil until well browned. Add 2 cups of the onions and sauté a few minutes, then add 4 cloves of the minced garlic. Sauté onion garlic mix until onions are softened. Cut off the hard part of whole canned tomatoes, crush them with hands and add to pan with meat and onions.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste and water and deglaze pan, scraping up all the brown bits. Add the basil, half of the Italian seasoning, four tablespoons of the fresh Italian parsley, wine and half of the Parmesan cheese and stir well. Simmer for 2½ to 3 hours. Since you are simmering it so long, you need to make sure it is simmering slow and not boiling rapidly. Just simmer it slow, and stir often it does not burn the bottom of the pan.

While sauce is simmering you can prepare the meatballs. Fry other ¾ cup of onions, add the other two cloves garlic just before onions are softened, and cool mixture. Soak breadcrumbs with milk and mix in ground beef, veal and pork. Then mix in scrambled egg, the other 2 tablespoons fresh parsley and the other 1.5 teaspoons Italian seasoning, make into balls about the size of golf balls. They should be very soft, so add a little more milk if necessary. Mama Lama said as soft as possible but still able to hold together into a ball.

After about two hours of the meat sauce simmering, add the meatballs to pot with red sauce where they will cook for another 45 to 60 minutes. You need to be gentle with the meatballs at first since they are very soft and delicate until they cook a little. Mama Lama does not fry them. This makes about 10 to 12 medium-sized meatballs.

After 2½ to 3 hours of simmering, the pork meat will have mostly fallen off the rib bones. Remove the rib bones with tongs carefully from the sauce, returning any remaining pork meat still attached to the bones back to the sauce. I usually serve this sauce over rotini or rigatoni pasta with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese on the side.


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