As a 20 plus year resident of Cleveland I have longed for many of the foods that remind me of my childhood. I was born in Brooklyn, New York and lived there among my italian relatives until I was 10 years old. Memories of an entire Sunday being spent making a huge pot of spaghetti sauce and meat that we would eat the remainder of the week still loom in my head. Those memories are what helps me to achieve a frugal system of managing our meals. Luckily, Cleveland has many ethnic families and various cultures – but this recipe can make even “Cleveland’s Little Italy” jealous.
Here is a recipe, that depending on the size of your family, may create up to 7 days worth of meals. Be prepared to divide up this recipe and freeze it in portions for one meal and enjoy it for weeks and even up to a few months depending on how you’ve frozen it. Marc’s (all over Cleveland) is a great place to find containers appropriate for your freezer.
For the ingredients in the recipe you can shop at any local Cleveland grocery store. Nothing on the recipe list is hard to find. And, with careful matching of coupons, you can reduce your cost to pennies. Giant Eagle always seems to have pasta, sauce, and pantry items on sale.
Giant Eagle – click here for the location nearest you & current sales flyer
Marcs – click here for the location nearest you & current sales flyer
Acme – click here for the location nearest you & current sales flyer
Now, here is the recipe to help you feel like you are standing right in the middle of Brooklyn NY:
MICELI’S SAUCE WITH TONS & TONS OF MEAT
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 -1/2 pounds pork neck bones
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
2 (28 ounce) cans tomato puree
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
1 Cup Italian bread crumbs – seasoned
3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese (true Miceli’s use 1 cup)
1 cup water
3 eggs, beaten
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste (approx. 1 teaspoon of each)
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in the bottom of a large saucepan, and fry the garlic 5 to 8 minutes, until brown and fragrant. Remove the garlic cloves and set aside. Place the pork neck bones in the saucepan and fry, turning occasionally, until the meat and bones have browned, about 15 minutes.
Return the garlic cloves to the saucepan, and stir in the tomato paste and 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and pour in the tomato puree. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 3 hours, stirring from the bottom often to prevent burning, until the pork neck bones are tender and the mixture begins to thicken. Stir in the sugar, pepper, and baking soda, basil, oregano and parsley. Continue to simmer while you prepare the meatballs.
Combine all meatballs ingredients. Mix thoroughly and form into 24 meatballs about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. ( Or smaller if you’d like)
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stir in the minced garlic and chopped fresh basil, let them cook for about 1 minute, and then add the meatballs. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and fry them on all sides until brown, about 15 minutes, working in batches, if necessary.
Place the browned meatballs, along with the oil, garlic, and basil from the skillet into the sauce, stirring lightly to avoid breaking them. Simmer for about 1 1/2 more hours, until the meatballs are cooked, the sauce is thick, and all the flavors have blended.
*****You can either simmer this sauce in a very large pot on top of the stove following the recipe and times above….or cook in a crock pot – if you do the crock pot allow the sauce to cook for 3-4 hours before putting meatballs in. After adding meatballs, cook another 3-4 hours.
****Now, if you are a true Miceli – start the sauce VERY early in the morning. Then immediately make the meatballs but DOUBLE THE batch. One batch gets cooked as directed and placed in refrigerator to wait until time to add to the sauce. The second batch, when frying the meatballs, fry them until thoroughly cooked. Place on paper towel to absorb grease. For breakfast, enjoy your meatballs on a fresh, hot bagel :)