Prep 1 hr
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
In ' On Top of Spaghetti...' by Johanne Killeen and George Germon
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 center-cut pork chops (total weight 1 to 1 1/4 lb.)
- 1 1⁄4 lbs sweet Italian sausage, halved horizontally
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 1⁄2 cups pureed canned tomatoes
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- parmigiano-reggiano cheese, rinds (or end bits of Pecorino Romano)
- 1 lb spaghetti or 1 lb rigatoni pasta
- freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
- 12 ounces ground beef
- 4 slices white bread, crusts removed and discarded, cut into tiny cubes
- 1⁄4 cup milk
- 3⁄4-1 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
- 3 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Make the meatballs: In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, bread, and milk.
- Add the cheese, basil, parsley, egg, and salt.
- Mix gently but thoroughly.
- Form into small meatballs, no more than 1 1/2 inches in diameter; set aside (can cover and refrigerate while you are making the sauce).
- Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot.
- Add pork chops and sausages and brown on all sides.
- Transfer pork chops to a plate to make room for the onions.
- Toss the onions into the pot with the garlic, fennel seeds, and salt.
- Saute over medium heat stirring frequently and scraping up any bits left behind by the pork and sausages, until the onions are soft and golden.
- Put the pork chops back in the pot with any juices on the plate.
- Add the tomatoes, 4 1/2 cups water, and tomato paste.
- Drop in a few cheese rinds or ends if you have any.
- Cover the pot, bring to a boil; decrease the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Gently drop in the meatballs, 1 at a time, shaking the pot a bit to encourage them to nestle in with the pork and sausage and to make room for the addition of more meatballs.
- After all the meatballs have been added, continue to simmer, covered, for 1 hour longer, or until the pork chops are very tender.
- To finish the gravy, transfer the pork chops to a cutting board.
- Remove and discard the bones, chop up the meat, and return it to the sauce.
- Keep warm over low heat while you cook the pasta.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Generously salt the water and drop in the spaghetti.
- Cook, stirring often, until al dente; drain pasta.
- To serve--start with a large, heated deep platter or pasta bowl.
- Cover the bottom with a ladleful of gravy and a good sprinkling of Pecorino Romano.
- Top with half the pasta.
- Add more gravy and cheese, the remaining pasta, and another layer of gravy and cheese.
- Serve immediately with more grated cheese.
- Pass the meatballs, sausage, pork, and additional gravy in a bowl at the table.