On Line Cookbook

Licari's Sicilian Pasta Sauce

Recipe Information
Marinara Sauce with sausage and meatballs

Ben Licari

Serves/Makes:4 quarts with meat

  • 1 pork shoulder steak
  • 4 or more mild Italian sausage links
  • 1 lb (.5 kg). ground chuck
  • 1 28 oz (784 grm). can crushed tomatoes or puree
  • 1 6 oz (168 grm). can tomato paste
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves, optional
  • 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) sweet basil
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) salt
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) pepper
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) plain bread crumbs
  • 3 tsp (15 ml) parsley flakes
  • 4 tbsp (60 ml) olive oil
  • Meatball Mix:
  • In a large bowl, combine 1 lb (.5 kg). ground chuck, 1 egg, 1 tsp (5 ml) salt, pepper to taste, 3 tbsp (45 ml) grated parmesan cheese, 1 tsp (5 ml) basil, 3 tbsp (45 ml) parsley flakes, and bread crumbs (if the mixture is too "wet" add a few more bread crumbs).
  • Mix thoroughly and form into balls 1-2 inches in diameter.
  • Set aside.
  • Single Batch Sauce:
  • Put olive oil in a large fry pan, on medium high heat; brown pork steak, Italian sausage, and meatballs and put the browned meat in a large kettle (at least 4 quarts).
  • Cook chopped garlic in same oil; about 2 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste and 1 can of water; mix and heat through; add mixture to kettle.
  • Add tomatoes (or puree) and 1 can of water to kettle.
  • Add 1 tsp (5 ml) salt, 1 tsp (5 ml) sugar, 1 tbsp (15 ml) basil, 1 to 2 bay leaves.
  • Bring to a boil; then lower heat.
  • Simmer to desired thickness, 1 to 2 hours is plenty.
Some people prefer to just drop the formed meatballs into the sauce to cook instead of browning them beforehand. I always brown them; in fact I usually double the meatball part of the recipe and fry some all the way so that I can serve a snack of meatballs and sauce early to hungry people who are drawn to the kitchen by the smell of sauce cooking. Bay leaves are optional. For a little extra zing, you can add red pepper to sauce or better yet, use hot Italian sausage instead of mild. Extra sauce and meat freezes very well, and I usually make a double batch to freeze some for a quick meal later. Just cook some pasta and warm the sauce in a microwave.