For those of you whose boyfriends or husbands don’t have them, I’ve created this recipe as a substitute.It’s a hearty, meaty pasta dish.It blew my mind why most recipes for meatballs contained the same ingredients as meatloaf.This made no sense to me.They’re called ‘meat’ balls not ‘filler balls’ and they should contain only ‘meat.’Hence, there are no ‘stuffing’ ingredients in these balls, must plain, good old-fashioned meat.And, you don’t have to add spices because not only is the sausage already spiced, but they will take on the flavor of the tomato gravy while simmering in it.I happen to have a meatball gadget but a small ice cream scooper works just as well, just make sure you dip it in water or spray with Pam before forming each ball to prevent sticking from the fat content, which is why you don’t need the “glue” you get from the egg, milk and breadcrumbs, the heat from your hands acts as a mediator between fat and meat, it brings them together in mutual, savory harmony. And, did you know that meatballs date way back to ancient Roman times?Yes, indeed. The Middle East Kofta,Arabia, and, of course, Sweden, all had their own variations of these little delectables, so a meatball, like anything else, can contain just about anything (or not).
7 Italian sausages (5 hot, 2 mild – makes 13 balls – my lucky number) ¼ c. olive oil, 2 tbsp. butter to sauté balls 1 roasted red pepper, deseeded before roasting, then peeled and chopped (or jarred roasted peppers)* ½ finely chopped green pepper 1 sm. finely chopped onion 1 portobello mushroom, chopped (stem removed) 2 fresh tomatoes, diced 1 roasted garlic bulb (put garlic in foil and roast in preheated 350º oven for 30 mins.)* 1 c. crushed tomatoes (28 oz. – imported Italian with basil works best) 1 c tomato paste (6 oz.) 1¼ c. sweet Marsala (or Livingston Rose) 1/8 tsp of Rosemary 2 tbsp. of each - basil and oregano 1 tsp. fennel seed ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper 1 tbsp. freshly ground pepper 1 tbsp. kosher salt ¼ c. sugar Heat a Dutch oven or 9 qrt. pan with the olive oil and butter on low heat.Form your balls uniformly with your gadget, finish the shaping with your hands, and place your balls in the pan with the olive oil and butter – you should wind up with the cursed number of 13.Then, sauté your balls – a very delicate procedure I might add, on low/med. heat with lid on for about 15 mins. per side until golden brown (they turn easily with a fork or spoon).The gravy from the balls with enhance the tomato gravy.Next, add your veggies (peppers, onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, in this order, sautéing for 1 min. per veggie until they’re happy – you need only to squeeze the garlic from the shell and peel).Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Marsala and seasonings, blend and simmer for about 3 hrs. with the lid on. *Note:you can roast the red pepper and garlic together