Debbie Allen, Sauces

Italian Tomato Sauce

2 lbs. ground beef
2 lbs. Italian sausage
3 pork neck bones
3 T. fresh parsley
4 T. fresh chopped garlic
2 T. fresh chopped sweet basil
1 c. Peccorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
1 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
3 eggs
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 large cans tomato puree
1 large can tomato paste
1 large can whole or crushed tomatoes
garlic salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, parsley, sweet basil, 2 T. garlic, 2/3 c. cheese, bread crumbs, eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix well with your hands. Set aside.

Sprinkle neck bones with garlic salt and fry along with sausage in a good amount of olive oil. You want to seal the flavors, not cook thoroughly.

Place meat in bottom of large saucepan. Form meatballs into a size between a golf ball and a tennis ball. Fry in the same oil, turning the meatballs to brown on all sides. (My Italian friend who shared this recipe pours all the cooking oil into the sauce for extra flavoring. I don’t, because my conscience can’t take it if I add all that oil but it’s up to you.)

Place the meatballs in the saucepan and add the tomato products. Add 2 cans of water and stir gently. Add the remaining garlic to the sauce and stir.

Cook the sauce for at least 3 hours on medium low heat. Stir often (gently). About 30 minutes before serving, add the remaining cheese to the sauce. If the sauce tastes slightly acidic, you can add up to 3 T. sugar.

(My Italian friend was very specific about using basil only for pasta sauce and saving the oregano, etc. for pizza. We like to zip this up a little by adding additional herbs and spices, but either way, this sauce is the real thing, and makes enough for a big family.)