2 cups water, approximately
1 can (6-ounce) tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
4 to 5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
HEAT oil in large saucepan. Add meat and, on high heat, brown it on all sides to lock in the juices. Reduce to medium heat.
ADD finely chopped onions and garlic and sauté until softened. Add red wine, if desired, for flavor.
PUREE the tomatoes by straining them, or using a food mill, and add them with their juice to the sauce pan. (I used cans of crushed tomatoes.) Fill each tomato can halfway with water (approximately 1 cup for each can) to loosen any tomatoes still in the can, and add this to the sauce as well.
ADD tomato paste, parsley, basil, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
IF ADDING meatballs to the sauce, prepare meatball mixture and shape into round balls, about 2 inches in diameter. Bring the sauce to a boil.
ADD uncooked meatballs to the sauce; reduce the heat to medium, and cook the meatballs in the sauce, covered, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
TURN DOWN the heat and simmer, covered, for another hour. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
SERVE the sauce over any cooked pasta of your choice and serve the meat as a separate dish.
Italian Meatball Patties
Makes 4 to 6 patties
1 pound ground chuck or ground sirloin
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or one fresh clove, chopped fine
1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, for frying
MIX together all the ingredients, except for the oil.
SHAPE the mixture into patties and fry them in hot oil in a skillet on medium heat until browned on both sides OR Bake the patties in a preheated 350° oven for about 20 minutes (add a little water to the bottom of th pan before baking.)
Makes 7 to 8 dozen)
5 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
Juice of 1/2 orange and its grated rind
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon anise oil
Fluffy Egg White Icing
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites
For the dough:
SIFT together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
BLEND the shortening and sugar in a mixer.
GRADUALLY add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the orange, vanilla and anise.
FOLD in the flour mixture by hand until a soft dough is formed. Working with a small portion at a time, roll the dough into ropelike strips about 16 inches long and 1/2 inch in diameter.
CUT each rope into about 4-inch strips and knot each piece. On a well-greased cookie sheet, bake the love knots in a pre-heated 350° oven for 10 minutes.
WHEN cooled, ice the cookies with egg white icing.
For the icing
COMBINE 1/2 cup water and 1 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan and let it come to a boil. Cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens to the consistence of syrup, about 5 minutes.
REMOVE from the heat and let it cool slightly.
BEAT 2 egg whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form.
GRADUALLY pour the syrup mixture over the beaten egg whites
BEAT with the mixer until thick and fluffy.
SPREAD over cooled cookies.