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Sausage Meatballs with Red Gravy


For the Red Gravy:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 2 teaspoons Emeril's Italian Essence
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 20 cloves garlic minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons whole anise 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 Emeril's Original Essence

For the Sausage Meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage removed from casings
  • 1 pound fresh hot sausage removed from casings
  • 10 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 4 teaspoons Emeril's Original Essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Base:

  • 1 pound spaghetti cooked according to package directions

For the Garnish:

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


For the Red Gravy:

  • In a large saucepan or Dutch Oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onions, Italian Essence, salt, and crushed red pepper. Cook while stirring until the onions are soft, takes about 6 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and anise. Cook while stirring for 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste. Cook while stirring frequently until the paste begins to brown. Takes about 5 minutes or so.
  • Add the tomato sauce, pureed tomatoes, 2 1/2 cups of water, and Original Essence. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.

For the Sausage Meatballs:

  • In a very large bowl, combine the ground chuck, sweet sausage, hot sausage, garlic, eggs, Original Essence, salt, and black pepper. Mix this briefly but thoroughly. Shape into about 20 large meatballs (1/3 cup each) and set aside in the fridge.

Putting it Together:

  • Add the meatballs to the sauce. Do not stir until the meatballs float to the top. This should take about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Stir the sauce well. Simmer the meatballs in the sauce for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Skim off any fat that rises to the surface.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
  • Serve immediately over hot pasta.
  • Pass the grated Parmesan at the table.