Dolce Mangia
Sweet Eats
Pasta and Meatballs

Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs*
Black pepper
Salt
3-6 cubes of sugar**
1 handful chopped fresh Italian parsley
8-10 basil leaves depending on size 
1/2 cup romano cheese 
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups water


Saute garlic in the olive oil in a small frying pan. Do not brown! Add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes. In a crockpot**** or large saucepot, combine the remaining ingredients and the tomato paste-garlic mixture and simmer. Cook the meats and add to the sauce. If using a crockpot, set on high for the first 4-6 hours and stir every hour. If you are using a pot, stir every 20 minutes and cook for a minimum of 3 hours with the lid on. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little water at a time. 

Meatball Recipe:                                                                                                                               1 pound hamburger (80% lean) 
2 large eggs 
1 handful chopped fresh Italian parsley
Black pepper
1/4 cup grated romano cheese                                                                                 
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
4 garlic cloves, sliced 
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Form the meatballs with your hands. 

Meat:                                                                                                                                             
1 package of Italian sausage (mild, sweet or hot)  
1 batch of meatballs

Cooking the meat:

 

Cut the sausage links in half and place in a frying pan. Add 1/3 cup water to the frying pan and cook sausages over medium heat, flipping once. The sausage should no longer be pink in the middle. Add the sausages to the sauce. Using the same frying pan, cook the meatballs. Add more water if needed.  Rotate the meatballs so that all sides get cooked. When the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce.      

Pasta:                                                                                                                                           Cook your preferred pasta according to the package instructions. Ladel several ladels of sauce over the pasta and serve extra sauce on the side.       

Time: 6-8 hours   Serves: 10

I call this pasta and meatballs instead of spaghetti and meatballs because my family prefers shaped pasta such as penne and rigatoni to spaghetti.

Notes: *Crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs may be a little hard to find. I use the namebrand Contadina and it can generally be found in higher end grocery stores or specialty markets.

**I have found that the easiest way to sweeten sauce is to use sugar cubes. If you are a tea/coffee drinker you probably have sugar cubes in your pantry. Sugar cubes are a lot less messy than granulated sugar. I say 3-6 cubes the exact amount is really a matter of preference. Start out with 3 and adjust during cooking.

***I use Locatelli romano cheese. I buy both the romano and parmesan in wedges and shred my own. Believe me, you can taste the difference!! If I don't happen to have any parmesan handy, I will subsitute romano for the full cup, but do not put all parmesan in as it tends to make the sauce too bitter.

 

****I generally use a crockpot to make this recipe. It is a lot lower maintenance.

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