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(adapted from Daniel Holzman's Meatball Shop)

The Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
1 cup medium diced onion
3/4 cup small diced carrot
4 cloves garlic minced
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes ( San Marzano, or Muir Glen)
2-4 Table spoons honey (optional
) 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt or to taste

Make the sauce:
       In a large oven-proof saucepan or Dutch oven heat the olive oil. Add the onions, and carrots. Cook until the onions are softened and translucent, about 8 minutes.
       Stir in the garlic and the tomato paste, and cook about 3 minutes until the paste is lightly caramelized.
       Add the bay leaf, oregano, tomatoes, and the red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the honey, if desired, and salt to taste, and keep at a low simmer while making the meatballs.

The Meatball Ingredients:
1/4 cup Italian style dry bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork

While the sauce is cooking, make the meatballs:
       Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium size bowl combine all of the ingredients except the meats. Add the meats and mix with your hands or a fork until well combined. Using a 1 1/2 inch wide ice cream scoop, so they're all the same size, scoop out 20 meatballs, hand-rolling to make them round.
       Add the meatballs to the sauce, and gently spoon some of the sauce over the meatballs. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and place in the preheated oven. Braise for 30-35 minutes, until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. Discard the bay leaf. Serve with extra grated parmesan.

Makes 4-6 servings. YUM!!

LESSONS Learned:
1. A lot of recipes use a combination of beef, pork, and veal, for flavor, fat and tenderness. I have an organic, grass-fed butcher shop up here in Kingston, NY, Fleischers, and they don't sell veal. So I got their Bork--half ground beef and half ground pork. I think I like it better--the veal might make them too tender. But you could substitute the classic meatloaf mix, beef, pork and veal.
2. I like to combine all of the meatball ingredients except the ground meats first. That way I know all of the flavors will be evenly distributed throughout the meat.
3. Buy the tomato paste in a tube for the sauce. You only need a few tablespoons, and you won't waste a whole can.
4. For evenly sized meatballs, use an ice cream scoop to portion out the meatballs. And then hand roll them.
5. If you have a chance to get a recipe for something delicious, Grab IT!

Donna Cohen

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