January 1, 2000
This is mostly off the top of my head. I’ve tweaked this as I’ve made it and remembered to edit it. I’m sorry that when I make it I don’t really think, I just go. It is based on a family recipe passed down. I.e. mostly traditional, but varied over the generations. So this is the basic idea, I’ll do more for “insight” into a good sauce at some point.
- Red Wine
- Meat balls (I prefer a mix of turkey/bison/beef)
- Spicy Italian Sausage (I prefer pork sausage)
- Sweet Italian Sausage (I prefer chicken sausage)
- Pepperoni Sausage
- crushed/diced tomatoes
- diced onions, peppers, mushrooms
- spices (basil, oregano, thyme, sage)
- fresh garlic (crushed)
Start with cooking the meat balls (which almost deserves its own recipe) in a large pot. When 80% cooked, remove meat, but leave the grease. Cook both sausages the same way, doing the sweet first and then the hot. And leave the grease each time as well. If you have non-dried pepperoni, cook that as well, but ever so slightly. Also, you can splash wine on meats as you cook if you want. I like that when cooking meat balls, but not really necessary otherwise.
I also cut the sausages at this point, for easy identification later. Sweet in large (inch) diagonally cut pieces, hot in smaller (1⁄2 inch) perpendicular cuts. I cut the pepperoni very thin (1⁄4” or smaller) & diagonal.
Next, drain “some” grease. Depends on how much tomatoes you use. Add tomatoes, spices, garlic & water and bring to boil. Put in peppers & boil for a bit longer. Lower heat a lot and add in onions, leave simmering until the peppers and onions are soft.
If timed right, the sauce should thicken to about “half way” of final. Add in wine, put the meat back in, add in some more spices/garlic, and lower heat until the whole mixture slightly bubbles. Cook for a good number of hours, add in the mushrooms near the end. Also, don’t forget to stir well every 15 - 20 minutes. Growing up, we always put it on the wood stove for the day and stirred it every 30 minutes or so.
This, BTW, also freezes well. A sampling of meat in a 1 quart container is great for a growing boy or a couple. :-)