1. Place the bread and buttermilk in a small bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. Mash the bread with a fork to form a paste. Place the ground chuck, sausage, Parmesan, parsley, 2 tablespoons of the garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the bread- buttermilk mixture and mix gently but thoroughly to combine. Shape into about 10 large meatballs (about 1⁄2 cup each) and refrigerate briefly to firm up, about 15 minutes.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over
medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, in batches if
necessary, and cook until very well browned on all
sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the browned meatballs
to a large pot.
3. Add the onion and crushed red pepper to the oil
remaining in the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook, scraping any browned bits from the pan, until reduced by half, 1 or 2 minutes. Add the tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, and water and bring the sauce to a simmer.
4. Carefully transfer the hot tomato sauce to the pot with the meatballs. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the sauce to a gentle boil so as not to disturb the meatballs. Reduce the heat so that the sauce just simmers and cook until the sauce is thick and the meatballs are tender, 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally once the meatballs have firmed up and have begun floating in the sauce. Stir in the basil and oregano and season the
sauce with salt to taste. If the sauce seems too acidic, add the evaporated milk and cook for a few minutes longer. Remove the bay leaves. Serve the meatballs and sauce ladled over the cooked spaghetti, garnished with additional
Parmesan if desired.
Yield: about 10 large meatballs, 4 to 6 servings