| Like its name says, a big platter of pasta surrounded by meats simmered slowly in a rich tomato sauce is the perfect Sunday dinner for family and friends. The sauce can be prepared completely in advance. Just reheat gently over low heat about 1 hour before you plan to serve dinner.
For the Meatballs:
3 - 4 slices firm textured white bread
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine (about 3/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ounces grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 2/3 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Sauce:
1/4 cup COLAVITA Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 links sweet Italian sausage with fennel seeds
1 rack spareribs (about 3 1/2 pounds), cut between the bones into individual ribs
1 pound pork butt, cut into 4 pieces
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
4 whole peeled shallots
4 whole peeled garlic cloves
3 (28 - ounce) cans Italian whole peeled tomatoes
20 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound COLAVITA Rigatoni
Prepare the meatballs:
1. Place 3 slices of bread in a bowl and pour enough warm water over them to moisten completely. Let stand until softened.
2. Crumble beef and pork into large mixing bowl, add onion and garlic. Beat eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper in a small bowl and add to the meats. Break up bread and add to the meats. Working with your hands, knead the mixture lightly until evenly blended. The mixture should be creamy and soft. If not, soak and add remaining slice of bread. Chill mixture until firm, about 1/2 hour.
Prepare the Sauce:
1. In a heavy, large (about 8 quart) pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches without overcrowding the pot, brown the spareribs, sausages and pork butt well on all sides, removing them as they brown. (Add small amounts of oil, if necessary during the browning.) When all the meat is browned, add the onion, shallots and garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring, until the shallots and onion are lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
2. Place tomatoes in a bowl and break up into small pieces with a whisk or your hands. Add tomatoes, half the fresh basil, salt, dried basil, oregano, red pepper and black pepper to taste. Return meat to pot. Bring to boil; lower the heat and simmer until the sauce is thickened and ribs are tender, about 2 hrs.
Finish the meatballs:
1. While the sauce is simmering, preheat the broiler. Using about 1/3 cup of the mixture for each, roll 8 meatballs with your hands, placing them on a broiler pan as you go. Broil until well browned on top, about 4 minutes. Turn them and brown the second side. Add the meatballs to the sauce about an hour into the cooking. Once the meatballs are in the sauce, stir the sauce gently so you don't break up the meatballs.
1. Cook the rigatoni in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Meanwhile, stir remaining basil into the sauce. Drain pasta and return it to the pot. Add enough of the sauce to lightly coat the pasta and transfer it to a large platter. To serve family style, arrange the meats around the edge of the platter and top the pasta with more sauce. Serve remaining sauce and grated cheese separately. Serves 10 - 12
Per Serving: 902 Calories (60.7% from fat); 60g Fat (21g Sat, 28 Mono, 6 Poly); 45g Protein; 43g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 201mg Cholesterol; 1311mg Sodium. Food Exchanges: 2 Grain (Starch); 5 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 9 Fat.