St Joseph's Day happens this month (March 18), which makes us think Italian-American. There's probably no more iconic dish from that cuisine than this one. It's also Billy Iuso's contribution to That Sounds Good: A Cookbook Celebrating 30 Years of WWOZ.
1 pound ground Italian sausage
1/2 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
Garlic salt and red pepper flakes to taste
2 15-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes (Cento brand of San Marzano tomatoes are my favorites)
1 cup grated Parmasean cheese
3 large basil leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
3 8-ounce cans Contadina tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can Contadina tomato paste
1 pound ground beef
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
Garlic salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Brown the sausage in the oil in a large skillet or saucepan. Add the garlic, garlic salt and pepper flakes. Add the tomatoes, Parmasean cheese, basil, sugar, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Simmer for at least 1 hour. (It's usually an all-day process for me of turning it on and off and sampling the product.)
For the meatballs, combine the beef, eggs, bread crumbs, chopped garlic, garlic salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and pepper flakes in a large bowl with your hands. Pour enough olive oil into a rimmed baking sheet to cover the bottom. Shape the meatballs with wet hands. Arrange them on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.
Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Turn and bake 8 minutes longer, checking often so they don't burn. Add them to the sauce, along with the pan juices. Let the meat balls absorb the sauce for a few minutes. Serve over your favorite pasta. And don't forget the garlic bread!
You can find this recipe and more like it from Louisiana musicians and other friends of WWOZ in our cookbook: That Sounds Good!