Making the Gravy
1 pound of pork neck bones or small ribs
1 brown onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 pound of fresh mushrooms
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of red wine (something hearty)
4 large cans of ground tomatoes (Pastene if you can find them)
2 cans of tomato paste (Pastene)
Kosher salt, freshly-ground black pepper
Dried herbs: oregano, rosemary, thyme,
Season neck bones or ribs with salt and pepper. In a heavy stock pot, brown neck bones or ribs in olive oil until brown, remove and set aside. Saute onions, garlic, red pepper, and mushrooms until cooked through and brown in the pork fat adding in additional olive oil if necessary. Deglaze pan with red wine, add cans of tomato filling each one with water to remove all contents. Optional: With an immersion blender, blend the contents of the pot until mixture is smooth and thick. Add back in the ribs or neck bones, herbs, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a light boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 4-6 hours, stirring frequently. Gravy is always better the second day but you can use it on the same day if desired. If using ribs you can serve them alongside pasta. If using neck bones remove them and discard.
Making the Meatballs
2 pounds of ground pork and beef (you may include ground veal if you wish)
3 slices of white bread with crusts removed
1 tsp of oregano
1 cup of grated Romano cheese
Crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Cube bread slices and soak in milk. Mix together meat, egg, grated cheese, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper, and oregano until well blended but do not over mix. Squeeze out excess milk from bread and add to mixture blending thoroughly. Oil a large sheet pan with olive oil. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Form meat mixture into balls (golf ball size are good). To do this quickly wet your hands periodically with warm water. Place on sheet pan and then bake for approximately 20-minutes until brown, turning once or twice. You do not need to cook them all the way as they will continue to cook when you add them to the gravy.
Remove hot meatballs from sheet pan and place in gravy, stirring often, as the gravy simmers for 4-6 hours.
Courtesy of Riccardo de Pasquale, friend of the Farm at Eastman’s Corner