To make the Red Gravy, heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, Italian Essence, salt, and red pepper and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, 6 minutes. Add the garlic and anise seeds, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until paste begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, pureed tomatoes, water, and Essence and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.
To make the meatballs, combine the ground chuck, Italian and hot sausages, garlic, eggs, Essence, salt, and black pepper and mix briefly but thoroughly to distribute the seasonings. Shape into meatballs and place on a large plate. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Slip the meatballs into the simmering sauce and do not stir until the meatballs float to the top of the surface, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir well and simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming any fat that rises to the surface. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve immediately over hot pasta with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.
Next Day Sausage Meatball Po-Boys
Serves 4 generously
• 1 large loaf French or Italian bread
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
• 2 green bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch strips
• 1 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence
• 8 teaspoons mayonnaise, optional
• One-half recipe Meatballs and Red Gravy Recipe [above], gently reheated
• 1/2 pound Mozzarella cheese, grated
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano cheese
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. Wrap the French bread in aluminum foil and place in the oven until warmed, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and increase the heat to broil.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook, stirring, until softened and starting to brown around the edges, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with the Essence.
Slice the warm French bread crosswise into 4 portions, and then cut each piece in half lengthwise.
Spread the inside of each bread slice with 1 teaspoon of the mayonnaise, as desired. Spoon half of the red gravy onto the bottom halves of the bread and top with the meatballs. Top the meatballs with the onions and peppers, and then the grated cheeses and the remaining red gravy.
Place the filled sandwich bottoms on the prepared baking sheet and broil until the cheeses are hot and melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with the remaining French bread halves. Serve immediately.
Recipes courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, copyright 2005