Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

I am taking a break from the holiday season and sharing something classic today. Although I didn't make this recently, I did recently pull a container of it out of the freezer last week and it reminded me to blog it. It was still really fresh and held the flavor profile very well. There is nothing better than having a really good make-ahead meal that you can freeze yet tastes the same as the day you made it. This recipe will make a ton of food. I like to make one big batch and freeze up a bunch for nights when there is just no time or energy to make dinner.

During Minnesota winters, hearty meals are a must. I try my hardest to eat light and fit throughout the year but once in awhile I feel the need for pasta and a strong desire for a fill-me-up comfort food. I love spaghetti because although it is an old classic so many make it different. I have never had two spaghetti sauces that tasted the same. In all honesty, I would prefer my mom's spaghetti and although I have her recipe,  it just never tastes like hers. Now days, I leave Mom's spaghetti to Mom and I make my own spicy version. After multiple adjustments, it is finally perfect for my taste.

That's just the thing about a sauce. It's made to your liking. You have to make it your own. Although you might like mine, you may love  it with more mushrooms or less garlic, etc. This is to be played with an adjusted to your liking. Therefore, please make this your own, however that may be, but please share what you changed. I would love to hear it!

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs
Yield:  Approximately Eight to Ten 

For the Sauce:
4 (14.5 ounce) cans Red Gold diced Basil, Garlic,
and Oregano tomatoes (with their juices)
1 (15 ounce) can Red Gold tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can Red Gold tomato paste
1 1/2 Cups water (or more if you like thinner sauce)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 Small onions, finely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
1-2 jalapenos, finely chopped
1 pkg baby portobella mushrooms
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
4 tablespoons italian seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon sea salt 

In a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat add oil, onions, green and yellow peppers, jalapeno, and mushrooms and saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms and peppers are soft to the touch. (About 8-10 minutes.) Then add garlice, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic and warm spices in pan for about one minute.

Reduce heat to simmer and add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water and remaining seasonings and move onto making the meatballs. Allow to simmer at least 3-4 hours.

For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground (italian seasoned) turkey
1 pound ground Italian sausage, ground beef, or ground pork. (I use sweet Italian sausage.)
1/2-3/4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/8 cups dried minced onion
2 eggs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 

In a large mixing bowl, combine egg, worcestershire sauce, cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, seasoning, and whisk with fork. Add meat and mix thoroughly until ingredients are all incorporated into meat mixture.

Form into meatballs about 1.5" in diameter. (This will make quite a few)
In a large pan seperate from the sauce, heat to medium and add olive oil. Add meatballs and partially cook until browned on all sides. (Don't worry if they aren't fully cooked through, they will simmer for several hours and cook with the sauce.)
Place meatballs into mixture and simmer with sauce at least 2-3 hours before serving. Stir often and taste often.

I tend to like a really chunky sauce so if you don't add more tomato sauce, water, or another can of tomatoes. Recipes are just a guideline, so make it yours and add what you like! I typically serve this over vermicelli noodles in lieu of the standard spaghetti noodles and almost always top it with a tiny bit of fresh basil and fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a huge chunk of garlic bread on the side. Go big or go home, right? After all, you're going to need that bread to sop up all that extra sauce!

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
-The Little Bitchin Kitchen

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