Sunday, September 7, 2008

Spaghetti & Meatballs

The Sopranos refer to this as Sunday Gravy. It takes a while to make but it's great!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound pork spareribs
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 (28- to 35-ounce) cans Italian peeled tomatoes
2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
***For the Meatballs***
1 pound ground beef
1 pound pork sausage
1 pound pork sausages (optional)
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs, preferably homemade
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon very finely minced garlic
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
***To Serve***
1 pound shells or rigatoni, cooked and still hot
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano


To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Pat the pork dry and put the pieces in the pot. Cook, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browned on all sides. Transfer the pork to a plate. Place the sausages in the pot and brown on all sides. Set the sausages aside with the pork. Drain off most of the fat from the pot. Add the garlic and cook for about two minutes or until golden. Remove and discard the garlic. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

Puree the tomatoes, with their juice, into the pot. Or, for a chunkier sauce, just chop up the tomatoes and add them. Add the water and salt and pepper to taste. Add the pork, veal, and sausages and basil and bring the sauce to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water. Meanwhile, make the meatballs: Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl. Mix together thoroughly. Rinse your hands with cool water and lightly shape the mixture into 1-inch balls. (Note: If you are making meatballs for lasagna or baked ziti, shape the meat into tiny balls the size of a small grape)

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet. Add the meatballs and brown them well on all sides. (They will finish cooking later.) Transfer the meatballs to a plate. After two hours, add the meatballs and cook for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and the meat is very tender. To serve, remove the meats from the sauce and set aside. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve the meats as a second course, or reserve them for another day.

Cheesy Bacon Bites - Pot Luck

Ok. This recipe is a pampered chef recipe. I took it to a friends house who was having a potluck. The kids seemed to enjoy it.

Cheesy Bacon Bites

1 package (3 ounce ) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup bacon
2 tablespoons chopped onions (add as little or as much as you prefer
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of salt
1 package (8 ounce) refrigerated crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine cream cheese, bacon, onion and pepper in a Batter Bowl.

Separate crescent rolls into triangles. Pinch seams together. Spread cheese mixture on each triangle. Roll up, starting at longest side, and seal. Cut each roll into 16 slices.

Place slices cut side down, on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Yields: 32 appetizers