Polpette alla casalinga (meatballs in tomato sauce)

Yield: 4 servings

Measure Ingredient
4 slices White bread, crustless
\N \N Milk for soaking
1 pounds Ground chuck
2 cloves Garlic
2 \N Eggs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1½ pounds Tomatoes, chopped
1 small Onion, finely chopped
1 small Carrot, finely chopped
1 \N Celery stalk, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 \N Large garlic clove, halved
14 ounces Can peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon Tomato paste
\N pinch Nutmeg
2 \N Strips lemon rind (thin)
\N \N Salt
\N \N Black pepper, fresh ground
\N \N Parsley leaves
\N \N Oil for shallow frying
1 teaspoon Sugar
\N \N Salt
\N \N Pepper
2 tablespoons Sugar
\N \N Salt
\N \N Pepper




To prepare fresh tomato sauce:

Place the tomatoes in a saucepan with the onion, carrot, celery, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the tomatoes have reduced almost to a puree. Press through a sieve or a strainer. If a thicker sauce is desired, return to the pan and boil briskly, uncovered, until reduced to the desired consistency. Check the seasoning and stir in freshly chopped basil or parsley to serve. Makes about 2 cups sauce.

To prepare canned tomato sauce: Heat the oil and garlic in a saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes or until the oil is well flavored. Discard the garlic. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil; cover and simmer ver gently for at least 40 minutes, preferably longer. Beat the sauce if necessary to break up any large pieces of tomato. Check the seasoning and use as required.

Makes about 1¼ cups sauce.

To prepare meatballs:

Prepare tomato sauce (either of the above versions).

Break the bread into a shallow bowl, barely cover with milk and leave to stand for 10 minutes, or until softened; then squeeze to remove the liquid. Place the meat in a bowl and add the bread, garlic chopped finely, lemon rind, eggs, cheese, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly. With well floured hands, shape the mixture into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter, then roll on a floured surface and flatten slightly with a knife. Handle as little as possible so that the meatballs remain light. Heat enough oil in a large frying pan or skillet to give a depth of ¼-inches. Fry the meatballs in batches, for about 3 minutes on each side or until crisp outside and cooked through. Lift out and drain in crumpled paper towels.

While meatballs are frying, reheat the tomato sauce, diluting it with water to give a fairly thin consistency. Put in the meatballs, stir gently and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until hot through.

Serve over cooked spaghetti or other pasta, or separately as appetizers.

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