Spicy Meatballs and Simple Sunday Red Sauce

By Libbie Summers from The Whole Hog Cookbook, Rizzoli
Photography by Chia Chong

Sundays are for red sauce. Gravy if you’re in the know or ever dated anyone from Rhode Island.
I like to dice my preserved tomatoes from summer and add to this sauce. Somehow it magically tastes even better!
The Whole Hog Cookbook, Libbie Summers, Meatball Recipes, Food Photography, Tomato Recipes, Tomato Sauce Recipes, Italian Recipes
Spicy Meatballs and Simple Sunday Red Sauce
serves 6-8

What you need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 (1⁄2-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
4 cups diced fresh/frozen/preserved tomatoes (See Video On Easy Tomato Preserving Here), can sub another (28 ounce can of crushed)
2 bay leaves
Spicy Meatballs (recipe follows)
2 pounds thin spaghetti, cooked al dente
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley

What to do:
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoons pepper and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the pork chops and cook for 5 minutes, turning once. Stir in the tomatoes and bay leaves. Fill one of the empty tomato cans with water and stir the water into the sauce. Bring to a low boil, then stir, cover, and lower the heat to low. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 hours, until the pork falls from the bone. Remove the bones and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Carefully place the meatballs in the sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot over the spaghetti, sprinkled with cheese and parsley.

Spicy Meatballs
yields 16

What you need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup milk
3 slices white bread
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed, chopped
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground chuck
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, and oregano and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is translucent. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool.

Put the milk in a shallow bowl. Submerge the bread in the milk to soak. Remove the bread and squeeze out any extra milk. Tear the bread into small pieces. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soaked bread, sausage, veal, chuck, cooled onion-garlic mixture, egg, parsley, cheese, salt, and pepper. Mix with your hands, then divide the mixture into 16 portions and shape into 2-inch meatballs. Put the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

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