I suspect that I have very little credibility on this subject, seeing as my family is zero-part Italian. I guess you'll have to take my word on it.
As previously mentioned, I am from the Mississippi delta. You might not expect it, but the delta has its fair share of Italians. And they know how to cook it up!
My mom was reading the newspaper one day, and at the end of an Italian lady's obituary was her recipe for spaghetti & meatballs. She assumed that if a recipe was good enough to be included in a woman's eulogy, it must be incredible. And she was right.
This takes time (read: hours) to prepare, but man, it is worth it. So maybe on a lazy Sunday this fall, give it a try. You won't regret it.
For the meatballs:
2 lbs ground chuck
3 hamburger buns (form into crumbs)
2 tsp salt
1 tbs chopped parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper (more if desired)
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Mix crumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add ground chuck and mix well. Add eggs and mix. Form into balls and fry in oil. When the meatballs are done, place in the refrigerator.
(Note from Anne Read: Make sure your meatballs are on the smaller side, so they don't fall apart. I make mine into 1 - 1 1/2 inch balls.)
For the sauce:
24 oz tomato paste
32 oz tomato sauce
4 tsp salt
2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp pepper
8 cloves chopped garlic
24 to 32 oz water
Saute chopped onion and garlic in a small amount of oil until golden brown. Add tomato paste and saute for 5 more minutes, stirring often because it will stick. Cut the heat down.
In a large pot, combine tomato sauce, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then cut down to simmer. Cook this mixture for about 45 minutes, stirring often. Add meatballs and 24 oz water. Stir and bring to a boil, then cut the heat down to simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours (depending on the preferred consistency). Stir often. Add more water as you go (about 8 oz), but keep the sauce a little thick.
Serve over spaghetti noodles. Add grated parmesan.