Soprano's Sunday Gravy (spaghetti sauce)

Soprano’s Sunday Gravy (spaghetti sauce)

For the Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb meaty pork neck bones or pork spareribs
1 lb veal stew meat or 2 veal shoulder chops
1 lb Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic
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 ground beef (or combinationof beef or pork)
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 cup freshly grated romano cheese or parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

To Serve
1 lb pasta shells or rigatoni pasta, cooked and hot
freshly grated romano cheese or parmesan cheese

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat.
Pat the pork dry and put the pieces in the pot.
Cook turning occaisionally, for about 15 minutes or until nicely browned on all sides.
Transfer pork to a plate.
Brown the veal in the same way and add it to the plate.
Place the sausages in the pot and brown on all sides.
Set the sausages aside with the pork.
Drain off most of the 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.
With a food mill (I use a Braun hand blender) puree the tomatoes, with their juice into the pot.
Or for a chunkier sauce, just chop up the tomatoes and add them.
Add the water; and salt and pepper to taste.
Add the pork, veal,sausages, and basil and bring the sauce to a simmer.
Partially cover the pot and cook over low heat, stirring occaisionally, 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 2 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 suace 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.