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26 October, 2015

Pasta Sauce and Meatballs

Posted in : dinner, easy, guest post, meatballs, pasta, sauce, Uncategorized on by : Jeanette Schramm

Today, we have another guest post, courtesy of Lisa Schramm — my lovely mother. I’m glad she’s looking out for my mental health during midterm month, because I certainly don’t have the time to! 😛

Anyway, she’s provided us with a nice little how-to on homemade pasta sauce (which, as someone who has made homemade pasta sauce, our style, I can say is leagues better than anything you can buy at the store) and homemade meatballs. Put your pasta hats on, folks, because we’re gonna get cookin’!
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Add a little grated parmesan on top and we're all set!



Anyone who knows me knows I do not like ANYBODY in my kitchen – ever! I am realizing that I am just now teaching my daughter how to make meatballs… via blog post. This seems a little odd, but it is what it is.



Quick and Easy Pasta Sauce and Meatballs

Don’t buy sauce in a jar! I used it for far too long before I discovered that fantastic and unique pasta sauce is easy, quick and quite fail-proof. Note: I use no salt added tomato products so I have even greater flavor control. 

This is your basic pasta sauce for four: 

Ingredients:

1 28 oz. can of Tomato Puree
1 12 oz. can of Tomato Paste
1 14.5 oz. can of Diced Tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
2 Tbsp. Basil *
1 glove of garlic**
Add- ins ***

*Use fresh if possible, a dozen or so large leaves gently chopped into long thin strips

**I’m not sure why, but I rarely use fresh garlic; my favorite product is a jar of pre-chopped garlic; 1 tsp equals one clove. If you use powdered garlic, use 1 tsp; be sure it is NOT garlic salt. 

***This is where YOU make the sauce yours by being creative. Add fresh, in season vegetables (onions, peppers, mushrooms) chopped small and sautéed in olive oil until soft; this is the beginning of your sauce. If you don’t have time used canned or frozen vegetables. After you have sautéed the vegetables, deglaze the pan with a splash of the wine you are serving for dinner and add your spices and tomato products at this time.

She does ingredients photos better than I do... mostly because her countertops aren't made of ugly formica and aren't cluttered with other stuff due to a lack of cupboard space.


Procedure:

1. In a large sauce pan, over medium heat, sauté the onions, garlic, and any additional vegetables in the olive oil until soft.

2. Add a ¾ of a cup of dry red or white wine to deglaze the pan. If you’re not going to use wine, deglaze with water or beef stock.

3. Add the tomato products, and seasonings to the pan.

4. Maintain medium heat while you are waiting for the tomato paste to melt down and all the ingredients to combine. For a mess free environment watch the pot, stirring occasionally; sauce coming to a boil can form messy geysers of sauce  that are pretty tough to clean off the stove tops and range hood!

5. If you’re going to add meat, now is the time (see options below) 

6. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Some people like to let their sauce simmer all day for a richer, mellower, flavor. I prefer 30 minutes for a sharper flavor profile.

Here’s a tip! Don’t waste your time with a spoon or a spatula when trying to get the tomato paste out of the can — Just open both sides and push the paste through!

 ...So simple!

Meat Add-Ins

Precooked Italian sausage, left over pork chops, left over roast beef. Or make some meatballs, it’s easy:

1 lb. Ground chuck*
½ cu bread crumbs
¼ cu parmesan cheese
3 eggs
1 tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder, basil and oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

*Some grocers sell a meatloaf pack which is a blend of beef, pork and veal; this is my favorite. I prefer to purchase a pound of each, combine, and separate into three packages. I store 2 in the freezer for next time, lasagna, or a even meatloaf!

Mmmeatballs!


Procedure:

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hands, but don’t over handle them or they will become dense and tough. Allow the mixture to rest 30-45 minutes in the fridge for the liquids to recombine.

Make golf ball sized balls and place them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet or broiler pan.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Note: you could pan fry them, but baking them renders out the fat.

Remove from the oven and they’re ready to add to your sauce.

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