Eleanora Scarpetta, a friend of Martha's, makes a delicious southern Italian-style tomato sauce, which she serves alongside a generous portion of savory meatballs. While it simmers, this sauce gets a distinctive, hearty taste from the addition of various meats, including beef cutlets, pancetta (the Italian version of bacon), spare ribs, and sweet sausage; in turn, the process of slow simmering infuses the meats with a deep, rich flavor. Although Eleanora uses tomatoes she has canned herself, you can use the store-bought variety in this recipe.
With a savory blend of meats, flavorful cheese, and garlic, these meatballs are sure to be an instant favorite. The meatballs can be cooked without the sauce: Just reduce the heat to medium once they've browned, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
These mini meatball sandwiches can be prepared in advance; simply bake, cool, and freeze them in airtight plastic bags. To serve, thaw and reheat in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes.
From the book "Lucinda's Rustic Italian Kitchen," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Wiley).