Tomato Sauce with Meatballs

What You Need

Sauce

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
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Meatballs

1/4 cup cold water
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
Olive oil

Here's How

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.

Puree the canned tomatoes and add to the saucepan. Add the tomato paste. Heat, stirring, to simmering. Add the basil, bay leaf, and oregano. Simmer, covered, while preparing the meat balls.

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 or make a delicious meatball sandwich on a hoagie roll!

Note: Meatballs can be made in advance and added to the sauce after it has simmered for 20 to 30 minutes.


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