Americans enjoyed most of the food at the scores of Italian restaurants that opened in the twenties, but they couldn’t understand the appeal of spaghetti and tomato sauce: Where was the meat? To accommodate, the restaurants began to top the pasta with meatballs.
This recipe takes the dish a step further by adding the Sicilian flavors of pine nuts and currants.
Serves 4 to 6.
For Sauce: Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juices and 2 tablespoons basil; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until sauce thickens, breaking up tomatoes with fork, about 1 hour. Mix in 2 tablespoons basil. Season with salt and pepper. Set sauce aside.
For Meatballs: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil baking sheet. Mix crumbs and milk in medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Mix in Parmesan, onion, basil, egg, garlic and pepper. Add sausage, pine nuts and currants; blend well. Using wet hands, form mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on baking sheet. Bake until meatballs are light brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Add to sauce.
Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Mound in dish. Bringsauce and meatballs to simmer. Spoon over spaghetti.