2 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 large heirloom tomatoes (about 3 pounds), blanched, peeled, and cored (keep the seeds)
salt and pepper
For the Meatballs:
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French or country-style bread
1/3 cup whole milk
8 ounces ground beef (15% fat)
8 ounces ground pork
1 cup finely ground (not grated) Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 pound of fresh pasta
First, get the sauce going (it will take about 2 hours). Saute the bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over high heat until starting to brown. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper and saute for an additional 2 minutes, stirring pretty constantly. Add the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you put them into the pot, and scrape the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Immediately start the meatballs once sauce is simmering. Combine the breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl, stirring until breadcrumbs are evenly moistened. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Place beef and pork in a large bowl and break into small clumps. Add the parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Whisk together the eggs and the garlic cloves in another small bowl. Pour over meat mixture.
Using your hands, squeeze the excess milk from the breadcrumbs, reserving the milk. Add the breadcrumbs to the meat mixture. Using your hands, quickly and gently mix all ingredients together until everything is evenly distributed, taking care to not overmix. Chill at least 15 minutes and up to one hour.
Moisten your hands with the excess milk, then roll the meat into golfball-size balls. You should have about 16 meatballs.
Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the sauce to the desired consistency. Return to a wide, shallow saucepan and bring back to a simmer. Add the meatballs in a single layer, and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through. You'll want to turn them about halfway through, but be careful not to break them apart before they are ready to move.
Cook pasta and drain. Remove meatballs from sauce. Add pasta to sauce pan and toss to coat. Serve with meatballs and shredded parmesan cheese.
bacon recipe courtesy of: Relay Foods: An Online Market for Sustainable Foods & Everyday Groceries; adapted from a recipe by Molly Wizenberg, Bon Appétit