I am not Italian. My Mom is not Italian – but she always wanted to be – so she married an Italian and learned how to make Italian spaghetti sauce from her mother-in-law and passed it on to the rest of us. She also passed on a tradition of making Lasagna for Christmas dinner that we continue in our family. However, to make the Lasagna (next week’s Food on Friday) you first have to make the sauce and the meatballs. I do this a day or so before I put together the lasagna. I have to make a double batch of both because my family cannot wait a day for either. Spaghetti and meatballs has to be the dinner the day we make the sauce. So lets begin.
As I walk into the kitchen, this is what I see – Jesse already starting on another batch of Hungarian Butterhorn Cookies and Vash on his stool, ready to start working on the sauce. Markus is hunting down something that fell behind the work table. What a work crew I have! Tucker is lying down under the table since he figured out that is the best position for fallover food.
First we make the sauce because the meatballs cook in the sauce. Here’s the Sauce recipe out of the family cookbook
Here are the ingredients I used.
I do a few things different than Mom. I use crushed tomatoes and leave out the blender part of the recipe. I also leave out the hot sausage. My boys are not big on spicy hot foods so we leave it out.
We start by browning the sausage in the olive oil – and yes, I use alot of olive oil.
I cut the sausage into quarters – first crosswise then lengthwise. Some of the sausage comes out and is loose in the sauce but most of it holds it shape. Next I add the onion, saute it until it is translucent and then add the garlic.
At this point whoever is not in the kitchen is walking in to see what smells so good.
Next we add the cans of tomatoes – we try to always go organic with our ingredients if possible and I think with processed foods it is even more important – and then the herbs.
After all of the spices and herbs are mixed in, we leave the sauce to simmer while we make the meatballs. We add the sugar to the sauce to make up for the fact that we are not leaving the sauce to simmer for hours, when the sugars in the tomatoes would develop.
On to the meatballs. Here is Mom’s meatball recipe – which is a favorite of my son Christophers as she notes on the bottom. Vash wanted to help.
Now Vash has the best of intentions when it comes to helping me cook – but if I have any kid who is going to go the route of vegetarianism, it is him. Vash is the reason that we include in our nightly dinner grace the line “and we thank the (insert animal here) who gave up its life so we could eat”. When we had our chicken, Rainbow Storm, no one could even suggest eating chicken in our house. So when it came time to help with the meatballs, at first he was all for it. And then I put the 3 pounds of ground beef in a bowl with 4 eggs and told him to take his clean hands and mush it all together. He looked up at me with an expression that said “Are you kidding me?” and I burst out laughing. I told him that this job really did not sound like a him job and I would handle this. He did help, however, by pouring the breadcrumbs on top for me to mix in.
He also chopped the parsley. . . .
and rubbed the oregano into the bowl.
Basically your meat mixture should look like this when ready to make your meatballs.
Then we started rolling the meat into balls and browning them in the fry pan. I fully admit that this is my weakest part of the process. I always seem to get them too brown and have to keep adjusting the heat until I get it right. This year I used tongs to turn the balls, which seemed to help.
When they are all browned, we add the meatballs to the sauce. . . .
and let it simmer until it is dinner time – at least an hour and a half – though this time it was closer to two and a half hours.
And that is Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs.
This is great to make to keep the kitchen warm and cozy on a winter’s night.
On the family front, we all celebrated Markus’s birthday this month. He chose the Santa hat over the Happy Birthday hat this year.
Personally, a wonderful blogger I know – Dre of Grackle & Sun -grackleandsun.wordpress.com – nominated my blog for the Illuminating Blogger Award. That meant so much to me. Thank you Dre. I will be adding more deserving blogs to this list tomorrow.
I look over at my Hermit card sitting on my desk and think of how in this time of reflection family and friends are my welcoming light.
Wishing you all warm nights in the kitchen.