Monday, February 13, 2012

Meatballs, Peppers, Mushrooms, and Onions in Marinara Sauce (for Pasta)

Recorded May 1, 2011. Prepared and modified more than a hundred times over the decades. A Family Favorite. The recipe is versatile. Instead of meatballs, the meat might be roast or pan-fried chicken, or Italian sweet sausage, in or out of the skin, or left-over spare ribs. Pasta can be spaghetti, fettuccini, rotini, rigatoni, or what you prefer, but larger forms work better with this robust, flavor-packed sauce.
about 2 oz olive oil
24 to 28 oz package frozen meatballs
2 c sweet red pepper, coarsely chopped
6 oz white mushrooms, wiped clean, and quartered
1 c yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 T minced garlic
1-1/2 T tomato paste
2 t Italian dry herb mixture
1 t fennel seed
1/4 t crushed red pepper
3/4 c dry red wine
1 28-oz can whole Italian tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 28-oz can prepared marinara sauce
1/2 c water
salt, pepper, and sugar
In a 6-quart heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the oil until almost smoking. Saute the peppers until they begin to char on the edges. Stir in the mushrooms. When they have darkened, add the onions and garlic, saute for a minute more. Add the meatballs, and saute until colored, adding oil as needed.  Push back to clear a space, add a tablespoon of oil and the tomato paste and seasonings. Heat until fragrant and mix with the vegetables. Add the wine, scrape the bottom of the pan, and reduce by half. Stir in the tomato products, and rinse the cans with the water, and add. Bring the mixture to a fast simmer, cover, and cook for an hour or more, stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Dresses two pounds (900 g) of dry pasta, cooked al dente.