by Brie Miller
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb meaty pork neck bones or 1 lb pork spareribs
1 lb Italian sausage
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 (28 ounce) cans peeled Italian tomatoes
2 cups water
6 leaves fresh basil (torn into small pieces)
For the meatballs:
1 lb lean ground beef (at least 80/20
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
1 tsp garlic (finely minced)
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp olive oil
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To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Pat the pork dry, season with salt and pepper, and place the pieces in the pot. Cook turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until nicely browned on all sides. Transfer pork to a plate.
Place the sausages in the pot and brown on all sides. Set the sausages aside with the pork. Drain off most of the rendered fat from the pot.
Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes or until golden. Remove and discard the garlic. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute until starting to brown.
Using clean hands, gently squeeze the tomatoes to break them down slightly, and add to the pot (along with the tomato juices). Add the water; and salt and pepper to taste. Add the pork, sausages, and basil and bring the sauce to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water.
Meanwhile, make the meatballs: Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl. Mix together thoroughly. Rinse your hands with cool water and lightly shape the mixture into 3/4 inch balls.
Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet. Add the meatballs and brown them well on all sides. They will finish cooking in the sauce. Transfer the meatballs to a plate.
After the sauce has cooked for its two hours, add the meatballs and cook for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and the meats are very tender.
To serve, remove the meats from the sauce and set aside. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.
Serve the meats as a second course, or reserve them for another day.
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