Marinara Sauce

sinatra.jpgThis sauce can be made in a little over 1 hour. It presents very well on its own, but is so good with my meatballs. I can hear Frank singing in the background.

2 28-oz. cans Italian crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 oz. fatback or salt pork OR 2 Tbsp. bacon fat*
1 small onion, diced
2 minced garlic gloves
Kosher salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
4-6 fresh torn basil leaves – (optional, but very good)

Pour oil into large pan and heat over medium-hight heat. Add the bacon fat or salt pork. If using salt pork, saute for 5 minutes then remove and discard.

Add onion and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic – sizzle for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir. Turn up heat to high, bring to a boil then immediately reduce to simmering and cook for 1 hour. Sauce will thicken up. If you add meatballs, add them at the 30 minute mark, then cook for 30 minutes more. Stir in the basil, if using, and warm for 1 minute.

*Whenever we cook bacon, I strain & pour the fat into a container I keep covered in the fridge for use with this and fried chicken.

I have tried so many different recipes and ways of making meatballs. I added sausage, I played around with different spices and the “keep it simple” way is still the best way to go. These are outstanding. Please try to use the best ground beef you can get. It does make a difference.

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
2 large eggs – beaten
1 large minced garlic clove
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (do not use seasoned)
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley (preferably fresh)
1 tsp. kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin (or not) olive oil

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add in everything up to the olive oil. Mix it thoroughly together with your hands. Shape the mixture into small (walnut sized) balls. You will need to occasionally wet your hands with water so mixture doesn’t stick. Set them all on a tray or plate while you heat the oil.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and fry them until they are browned on all sides. This is going to take about 15 minutes. Carefully transfer them to a plate or tray with tongs. Carefully transfer them to your sauce (or mine) and cook through, about 30 minutes.