for the sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped finely
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
2x800g tins of chopped tomatoes
pinch of chilli powder (optional)
pinch sugar (if needed, see below)
for the meatballs
500g beef mince
500g pork mince
1 crushed clove of garlic
small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped finely
3-4 anchovies, finely chopped/minced
1 tbsp olive oil
half a glass of red wine
750g spaghetti or other long pasta
Freshly grated parmesan.
Start with the sauce. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, gently fry the onion, garlic, celery and carrot until they are translucent and softened. Add the rosemary and oregano, and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the tinned tomatoes, and sprinkle in the chilli powder. Turn the heat up to a simmer, and leave to gently bubble until it is thick and pulpy. Stir at frequent intervals so the bottom does not burn. Taste near the end- if the tomatoes turn out to be not so sweet, add a little bit of sugar. Be generous with the pepper grinder, but hold off on adding salt until the very end of cooking time.
While the sauce is cooking, mix together the meat, garlic, parsley and anchovies, along with a good amount of salt and pepper. Form into balls a little smaller that a walnut.
In a hot frying pan, quickly brown the meatballs in batchs, setting them aside as the are done. When they are all browned, put them in the sauce and stir the in gently, being careful not not break them up. With the heat still under the pan used to brown the meatball, pour in the red wine, let it bubble up and cook off the harsh alcohol smell, then pour this into the sauce as well. Let everything cook together over a low heat while you get on with the pasta. Taste the sauce, and adjust the seasoning if you feel it needs it.
Drain the cooked pasta, and mix with the meatballs. Tear up to basil leaves and mix these in too. Serve with lots of parmesan.
If you make a big batch of sauce and only cook a small amount of pasta, I recommend using some of the meatballs and sauce to make a homespun meatball sub. Get a submarine roll, or french bread, fill with reheated sauce and meatballs, and sprinkle with a mixture of parmesan and mozzarella. Bake in a hot oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melty.