The Italian cook and hostess in me says, if you are going to take the time to make a hearty homemade meal you might as well make enough to have friends over and to also be able to enjoy leftovers. I had several friends over to enjoy the feast and with the leftovers I will not only make meatball parm but also use the marinara to serve with homemade calzones this weekend. Once everyone is sick of Italian food (Gasp! how could they EVER get sick of Italian food?) I freeze whatever is left of the marinara.
Here's my recipe, inspired by my mom, maiden name Danielle Delzio, and our Italian relatives.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup pureed or finely chopped onion
2 cups white wine
4 minced garlic cloves
3 28 oz cans of Tomato Puree
2 28 oz cans of Petite Diced Tomatoes
2 tablespoons dry oregano
2 tablespoons dry parsley
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Sea Salt, fresh cracked pepper to taste
3 tablespoons fresh basil, add just before dinner time
Heat a little olive oil in a large stock pot. Add onion and saute until tender. Add wine and garlic and let simmer for about 3 minutes. Add all the spices and cans of tomatoes, bring to a boil stirring frequently, then cover and reduce heat to simmer.
2 lbs ground round
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground veal
1 cup pureed onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
6 oz grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dry parsley
2 tablespoons fresh basil, very finely chopped
dash of sea salt, fresh cracked pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients well. And don't be scarred, go ahead and get your hands in there like the Italian Grandmother you never had would! Next, roll meat into balls. Size is really a personal preference, but I like mine a little larger, about the size of the palm of my hand. A larger meatball just seems to make for a heartier meal. Place meatballs on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes. When you take the meatballs out of the oven allow them to sit on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes to let them cool a touch and firm up. Then, add them into the marinara, to finish cooking and give delicious flavoring to the sauce.
From this point, depending on how much time I have, I allow the meatballs and the sauce to simmer for anywhere from two hours to 4 hours. You will need to stir the sauce about every half hour so it doesn't burn on the bottom.
Add the fresh basil minutes before serving and serve with your favorite garlic bread and grated Parmesan. Mangia!