The week before Christmas, my Uncle Tony came to visit and we spent a good amount of time in the kitchen making one of our family favorites..... Sauce with Meatballs.
Together, my uncle and I are working on a new project that I am excited about.....
We are hoping to write and publish a cookbook of all the Sicilian recipes that have been in our family for years. These recipes have been passed down from generation to generation, but they have never been compiled and written out. The way I learned to cook was by spending time in the kitchen with my Mom and my Grandma. I would watch everything they did.....and there were two things that struck me....they did not measure anything and they were not following a written recipe. They learned in the same manner that I was....watching and memorizing.
In our family, the focus of all gatherings and special events is always the food. The heart of our homes, lives in the kitchen. It is the way we grew up.....it is the Sicilian way, and it is tradition. We all want our children and grandchildren to grow up with the same traditions. We want them to learn the same recipes that we did and know all the stories that go with them, so that is really why this book has become something that my Uncle feels so passionate about.
He has more knowledge of the recipes than I do, and as you could probably guess, most of my responsibilities will be on the photography side of things.
We hope to share with everyone the recipes the way my grandparents made them, then we will explain some of the shortcuts or tweaks we have made over the years and maybe even list some of our favorite ingredients and store brands. We also want to tell some of the family stories we hold very close to our hearts.
I had mentioned the other day that Nick is already showing signs that his Sicilian roots run deep as he is the newest "foodie" in the house. He was right there next to Uncle Tony every step of the way as we prepared our pot of sauce with meatballs. I know Uncle Tony was just as proud as I was to see him so interested in everything we were doing. He was also the first one to offer to taste test:)
There are a few little things that we may do differently than most when it comes to our meatball recipe. One is the type of meat we use. We actually use three; beef, pork, and veal. The other is that we do not fry or bake our meatballs, we cook them right in the pot of sauce. Trust me, you will never have a meatball that is more tender than these. They melt in your mouth..... you will think you have died and gone to heaven..... they are THAT GOOD!!!
Olive Oil(Extra Virgin)
4 Cloves of Garlic
1 Cooking Onion
1 6oz Can of Tomato Paste
2 28oz Cans of Crushed Tomatoes
1 28oz Can of Peeled Tomatoes
Pinch of Sugar
2 tsp of Salt(Kosher)
1 tsp of Fresh Ground Black Pepper
12 Basil Leaves
Use enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent. Then add the garlic and stir for about a minute or two, but be careful not to burn it. Next, add the can of tomato paste and combine it with the onion and garlic mixture. Then, add the 2 Cans of Crushed Tomatoes, 1 Can of Peeled Tomatoes, Pinch of Sugar, Salt, Black Pepper, and Basil. Simmer it so that all of the ingredients will marry together. Usually for at least an hour.
Helpful Hint: We usually empty the can of Peeled Whole Tomatoes into a bowl and go through and cut off the ends/remaining stems. We also crush them by hand to get rid of any excess seeds that we don't want to go into the sauce.
1 lb of Ground Beef
1/2 lb of Veal
1/2 lb of Pork
1/2 Cup of Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1/4 Cup of Locatelli Romano Cheese
1 tsp of Salt
1/2 tsp of Pepper
2/3 Cup of Red Sauce
Put the three meats into a large bowl. Add the Egg, Bread Crumbs, Cheese, Salt, Pepper, and 2/3 cup of the hot sauce that is simmering. Mix by hand all the ingredients until combined, but be careful you don't over mix. The consistency should be very light and fluffy. Roll meatballs one at a time and carefully drop them into the pot of sauce to cook. Simmer them stirring occasionally. The longer they cook the better they are. I will leave them on for at least a few hours.
I hope that you will love this classic recipe as much as our family does.
It is one that will surely warm the heart and soul.
There will be more family favorites featured in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back.