1 pound hot Italian sausage
2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
1 rounded tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 28-ounce can pureed San Marzano tomatoes
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with garlic and basil
6 fresh basil leaves, rolled and chiffonade sliced
4 fresh basil leaves torn to season the sauce just prior to service
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic + 1 clove garlic, finely chopped and separated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
fresh flat leaf Italian parsley for garnish
1 pound ground beef
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 garlic clove, finely chopped (see in above ingredients list)
12 half-inch cubes of mozzarella cheese
Now, to the same pot or sauce pan, add the pound of ground hot Italian sausage and caramelize (brown up) the sausage. When just about done, add a splash of red wine vinegar or whatever wine you want to deglaze the pot or pan. Add the onions and garlic once the wine or vinegar has reduced along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sautee about three or four minutes to allow the onions to release their sugars. When the onions are just translucent, add half of the spices and stir well to incorporate. Next add the tomato products and stir thoroughly. Add the chiffonade fresh basil and stir in. Allow the sauce to simmer for fifteen minutes. Afterward, nestle the meatballs into the sauce to finish off. Allow the sauce to simmer on low for thirty minutes to one hour, whatever your time frame is. I recommend one hour, but we do not always have that kind of time in the real world.
Fifteen minutes prior to the sauce finishing, add the remaining seasoning and the torn fresh basil, bring about four to six quarts of water to a roiling boil. Generously salt the water and add the pasta you are using. I used rigatoni, which is large and grooved to catch the chunky sauce. Penne rigate, fusilli and others would be great for this, though many prefer spaghetti, which is quite traditional.
Normally, I would grate parmigiano-reggiano atop the plated pasta, or, a platter of it served family style, but I decided on elegance and added shaved parmesan and garnished with fresh parsley.