Tomato Sauce with Meatballs
What You Need
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 strip thick-cut bacon, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup minced carrot
1/2 cup minced green pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cans (28 ounces each) Italian-style peeled plum tomatoes with juices, cut up with scissors (see note below)
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs or 1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of dried oregano
For the sauce: Heat the oil in a large wide saucepan. Add the onion, mushrooms, carrot, green pepper, and bacon. Sauté, stirring, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste to the saucepan. Heat, stirring, to simmering. Add the basil, bay leaf, and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 1 hour longer, until sauce thickens. You may add water or wine if the sauce is too thick.
Note: It is easy to cut the tomatoes with scissors or kitchen shears while they are still in the can and i think the resulting sauce is much better than pureeing the tomatoes in a blendsr.
For the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the water, eggs, and bread crumbs. Stir to blend and let set for 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, cheese, parsley, salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir with a wooden spoon until blended.
Shape meat into balls. (Rinse hands repeatedly with cold water to discourage sticking). Heat 1/2 inch olive oil in large skillet. Brown the meatballs a few at a time in the hot oil Transfer directly into the simmering tomato sauce as they are browned. Cook meatballs in the sauce, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, about 1 1/2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with spaghetti.
Note: Meatballs can be made in advance and added to the sauce after it has simmered for 20 to 30 minutes.