On Sunday’s at the Knapp house we typically reserve this day for potluck whenever possible. This allows our family to join with our friends for a good family style meal that is hard to come by during the week. During the Winter and late Autumn months we look for hearty dishes, that warm our bodies and feed our souls. One of the meals that meet this criteria is our Sunday Sauce-it’s a hearty meat sauce guranteed to take the chill away and warm the spirit.
If you don’t have a good sauce recipe in your recipe file. You don’t have to look any further. Take this recipe and call it your very own.
Serves a crowd
Recipe adapted from Colavito
Note: The sauce can be prepared completely in advance. Just reheat gently over low heat.
For the Sauce:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 links mild Italian sausage
1 rack of spare ribs (about 3-1/2 lbs), cut between the bones into individual ribs
1 pound pork butt, cut into 4 pieces
1 large onion, diced
4 whole peeled shallots
4 whole peeled garlic cloves
3-28 ounces cans whole peeled tomatoes
20 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crusdhed red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of rigatoni pasta
For the meatballs:
3-4 slices firm textured white bread
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 ounces (about 2/3 cup) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Place 3 slices of bread in a bowl and pour enough warm water over them to moisten completely. Let stand until softened. Crumble beef and pork into a large mixing bowl, add onion and garlic. Beat eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper in a small bowl and add to the meats. Break up bread and add to the meats. Working with your hands, knead the mixture lightly until evenly blended. The mixture should be creamy and soft. If not, soak and add remaining slice of bread. Chill mixture until firm, about 1/2 hour.
2. While meatballs are chilling, start tomato sauce: In a havy, large (about 8-quarts) pot; heat olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches without overcrowding the pot, brown spare ribs, sausages and pork butt well on all sides, removing as they brown. (Add small amounts of oil if necessary during browning.) When all the meat is browned, add the onion, shallots and garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring, until the shallots and onion are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Place tomatoes in a bowl and break up into small pieces with a whisk or your hands. Add tomatoes, half the fresh basil, salt, dried basil, dried oregano, red pepper and black pepper to taste. Return meat to pot. Bring to boil, lower the heat and simmer until sauce is thickened and ribs are tender, about 2 hours.
3. While the sauce is simmering, preheat the broiler. Using about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture for each, roll 8 meatballs with your hands, placing them on a broiler pan as you go. Broil until well browned on top, about 4 minutes. Turn them and brown the second side. Add the meatballs to the sauce gently so you don’t break up the meatballs.
4. To serve: cook rigatoni in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions. Meanwhile, stir remaining basil into the sauce. Drain pasta and return it to the pot. Add enough of the sauce to lightly coat the pasta and transfer it to a large platter. To serve family style, arrange the meats around the edge of the platter and top the pasta with more sauce. Serve remaning sauce and grated cheese separately.