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Sunday Sugo

I may have mentioned this already but one of my favorite meals is pasta and meatballs. There are few meals more satisfying. The meatballs in this sauce are the perfect blend of meats, aromatics, and cheese. They are really delicious. Add a few sausages and this Sunday Sugo is hard to beat. My dad always ate the pasta first and then the meat. I always mixed everything up on my plate and ate everything at the same time. I can eat this meal any day of the week.

Ingredients for Sunday Sugo:

serves 6-8 (with extra meatballs to keep in your freezer)

1 pound Italian sausages


yields about 3 dozen; 18 for Sunday Sugo and the rest for your freezer

**2 1/4 pounds meatloaf mix

1 medium onion, finely diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups torn Italian bread, crusts removed

1 1/2 cups whole milk

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup Parmigiano cheese

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

dash nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

* Feel free to use your favorite purchased sauce. I do sometimes....I reveal the brand in the upcoming pictures.

** If you can't find meatloaf mix purchase equal parts of ground beef, ground veal, and ground pork.

Time-Saving Tips: The meatballs can be made ahead and frozen until needed. The sugo (sauce) can be prepared in advance. I always make extra meatballs and stash them in the freezer. They come in handy for a speedy weeknight meal.

Let's see what we need.

Time to start cooking.

Saute the onions and 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes until the onions have softened. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Remove from heat. I usually transfer the onion mixture to another plate so it cools faster. Set aside to completely cool.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Once the onion mixture is cooled combine all of the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Shape into 3 dozen equal-sized meatballs and place in a disposable pan (s) which has been coated with cooking spray. Bake for about 25 minutes until meatballs are just browned.

While the meatballs are roasting cook the sausage with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until browned all over. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325-degrees. Pour the sauce into a large pot. Add the sausages and half of the meatballs. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook for a couple of hours until meat is tender and sauce is bubbling. I like to do this step in the oven because the heat is steady and I don't worry about the sauce burning.

How to freeze meatballs? Once cooked cool them completely. Then place on a parchment lined plate, tray or whatever flat surface might fit in your freezer. Freeze the meatballs in a single layer, without touching, and uncovered. Once frozen pull out the tray and transfer the frozen meatballs to a baggie. Seal while pressing all of the air out of the baggie and return to the freezer. This way the meatballs are individually frozen and will not stick together. When you are ready to use them you can pull out a few or all of them. They can be used while still frozen.

The sauce looks delicious. The meat is cooked and the sauce has thickened. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Make sure to salt the water and do not add any oil to the water. If you add oil the sauce will just slide off the pasta.

It's ready! Sprinkle with a little cheese and I pretty much consider this a perfect meal. The meatballs are so flavorful and the sausage a must. The meat flavors the sauce and the result will rival any neighborhood Italian restaurant. Add a salad and a glass of red wine and you are good to go.



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