Note: This recipe is an adaptation of one devised by Charlotte's friend Paul Martory, a New Orleans firefighter! It's a recipe that he makes for the firehouse crew!
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 5 cups chopped yellow onions
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 20 cloves garlic, minced (about 1/3 cup)
- 2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
- 2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
- 4 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, pureed with their juice
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
- 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, garnish
In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, Italian seasoning, salt, and red pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, 6 minutes. Add the garlic and fennel, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until paste begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, pureed tomatoes, 2 1/2 cups of water, and Essence, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, sweet sausage, hot sausage, garlic, eggs, Essence, salt, and black pepper, and mix briefly but thoroughly to distribute seasonings. Shape into meatballs and set aside, refrigerated.
Add the meatballs to the sauce and do not stir until the meatballs float to the top of the sauce, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir well, and simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming any fat that rises to the surface. Taste, adjust seasoning as necessary, and serve immediately over hot pasta. Pass the grated Parmesan at the table.
Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.