I've been making this for a few years now, and I think I've perfected it enough that I can share it on my blog. It is a mixture of family recipes I've tried along the way, but I've added my own methods as well. I am so proud of this sauce! My family demands it. I make it for my roller derby league the night before a bout for the perfect "carb-load"! This time, I made it for an Italian Mafia Pajama Party. Everyone loves it, and I hope you do too!
I used to squeeze my tomatoes by hand, which is a very valiant effort, but there is an easier way. Buy a food mill. It will cut your prep time in half.
To start, you'll need the food mill, 3 cans of whole tomatoes (get a good brand), and a large bowl to catch the juice. I found the italian style tomatoes render much more juice than the regular. Use the finest blade.
- 3 (28-ounce) cans whole plum tomatoes
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 onion, chopped
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- couple cranks of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (the good stuff)
- 1 cup water
- 1 can tomato paste (6 oz.)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned
- 1 pound of italian link sausage (sweet)
1 lb of meatloaf mix (ground pork, veal, beef)
1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup milk
3 garlic cloves (pressed)
2 pinches of kosher salt
couple cranks of freshly ground pepper
Using the food mill, extract the juice from the 3 cans of tomatoes. Your pulp can be discarded. Set all the juice aside.
Start your sauce! In a large dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the garlic and onion, then saute til soft. Add the red pepper and black pepper and salt. Add in the tomato juice, red wine, water, Parmesan. (Don't add the tomato paste yet!)
Go make your meatballs. Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (if you have it). Wetting your fingers, roll the mixture into 2-inch balls. Add them to the cookie sheet, and bake for 20 minutes.
As soon as your meatballs are done, add them to your sauce. Cut up the sausage links into 2-inch pieces and add them straight into the sauce (uncooked). This is the secret to extremely tender sausage! Finally, add your tomato paste. Your meatballs will float. And don't forget your wooden spoon! Every Italian cooks with a wooden spoon!
Stir occasionally, uncovered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours over low heat. You want a steady bubble, but not too rapid.
It will reduce into a delicious silky sauce, with the most tender meat you can imagine. (You can also add a pork rib at the garlic/onion stage if desired.) Now add your basil!
Serve over your favorite pasta. As you can see, this isn't a lot of hassle for a really delicious result.