COMFORT FOOD FOR A RAINY DAY by Toni Hoyos/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
Here we are on this rainy Sunday practicing social distancing with no place to go. Thus let the cooking begin! I needed to utilize what was on hand so I foraged the kitchen to see what was in stock. The man was craving comfort food. Found 2 different jars of tomato sauce and one bag of pasta. Luckily there actually was meat in the house, bingo! Sunday Sauce! Something I hadn’t made in years, hopefully the touch was still there.
I had 2 lbs of grass fed beef chop meat and a 6 pack of Premio sausage. Open and rinse off sausage, pat dry with paper towel and place on small sheet pan, set aside. For the meatballs I used a medium onion and 3 cloves of organic garlic which I pulsed a few times in the food processor. I added that to the chop meat in a large bowl along with 1 large egg, dried basil, dried parsley, salt and pepper to taste. In lieu of breadcrumbs I used 2 slices of whole wheat farmhouse bread soaked in almond milk which I shredded by hand into the chop meat mixture. Once again I was utilizing what was available to me in the house, normally I like to use fresh herbs when cooking and I improvised with the bread and almond milk, you can use any milk, bread or breadcrumbs. Mix by hand until everything looks incorporated (but do not overmix) and form into meatballs of your size choice, place on lightly greased sheet pan and spritz with oil (I used avocado oil). Place meatballs on bottom rack of preheated 400 degree oven and sausage on top rack. Cook sausage for about 12 minutes, turn over, cook about another 12-15 minutes. Flip meatballs with a metal spatula after 20 minutes and cook an additional 15-20 minutes until brown.
To start the sauce I pulsed a medium/small onion, 4 cloves of organic garlic and a small organic carrot which I sauteed in a large sauce pot using organic extra virgin olive oil over medium/low heat. Sautee approximately 5 minutes stirring when needed, adding more olive oil when needed. I’d say I used about a 1/3 a cup of oil if not a little more. Once sauteed I added the 20 oz jar and the 24 oz jar of tomato sauce to the pot then added in the meatballs and sausage. At this point it looked like there wasn’t enough sauce in the pot to cover the meat so I went searching in the cabinets to see what I could find. Found 2 8 oz cans of Best Yet no salt tomato sauce,added them to the pot along with a cup of water. Sprinkle in some dried basil (about 1 teaspoon) and let simmer for at least 2 hours stirring gently every 15-20 minutes.
I have to tell you the aroma of that sauce cooking was delectable, heavenly! A scent to soothe the soul. I just wanted to grab a chunk of bread and dip it in the sauce!
Once the sauce is ready make your pasta according to directions, drain, place into a large pasta bowl or return to cooking pot, toss with cooked sauce, plate and serve. I served it with salad and olives. If I say so myself it was delicious, guess I didn’t lose my touch Hope you enjoy it as much as we did, Bon appetit!