Italian Sausage Meatball Heroes

1 lb. spicy or sweet Italian sausages, casings removed

1 (23-24 ounce) container purchased fresh marinara sauce, divided (or homemade, recipe follows)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

4 T chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided

4 T chopped fresh basil, divided

4 (5-6 inch long) pieces French baguette, split horizontally

1 cup (packed) coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400F.  Mix sausage, 1/2 cup marinara, Parmesan, 2 tablespoons parsley, and 2 tablespoons basil in large bowl.  Using wet hands, shape mixture into 8 meatballs.  Bring 2 tablespoons parsley, 2 tablespoons basil, remaining marinara, and meatballs to boil in large skillet.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, turning often, about 20 minutes.

Place baguette bottoms on baking sheet; spread each with about 2 tablespoons sauce from skillet.  Cut meatballs in half in skillet; overlap 4 halves on each baguette bottom.  Spoon remaining sauce over meatballs, then sprinkle mozzarella over, dividing equally.  Bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes and cover with baguette tops.

Makes 4 servings.

Quick Marinara Sauce

2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes in juice (I actually use crushed tomatoes instead of whole)

1 bunch of fresh basil, stemmed

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 small onions, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. sugar

salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes with their juice and the basil until almost smooth.  Set the tomato puree aside.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and saute until very tender, about 12 minutes.  Stir in the tomato puree, oregano and sugar.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Decrease the heat to medium and continue simmering until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes about 6 cups.

Printed from Brenda’s Canadian Kitchen