Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mom's Sauce

I am going to do the best I can here. It has been years since I was really satisfied with a sauce made this way. I remember her teaching me how to do this very well, but some how in recent years it has been nearly impossible for me to get just that taste that I remember. Perhaps it is something I am doing, or perhaps brand names that are no longer available make a big difference. I know that my brother and I have always appreciated a very hot and spicy sauce, and that habit of making it spicy may have made me lose the original intent of her sauce. Of course, most sauces are not as they would have been in Italy, and Grammie having lived for a time in Naples must have altered her way of cooking there compared to the island...Sooo, the best I can do is write this as I remember it.

In a heavy bottomed pan:

put a generous coating of olive oil and place over low heat. Add:
1T Oregano
1 1/2 T Basil
1t crushed red pepper
1 large bay leaf
3-4 Cloves(whole preferred)

fry for a few moments. Add:

6-7 cloves of garlic peeled and whole

Continue to fry at a very low temp. You are not browning anything here, only sweating oils from the herbs.

Add one pound of ground beef*
stir into the herbs and brown lightly while breaking up the meat. Continue till completely cooked. Add:
1 Large can of whole tomato or crushed tomato. Use a good brand or substitute fresh chopped tomato (skins removed and seeds removed preferred, but you may use them as you find them). NEVER USE TOMATOES WITH CALCIUM CHLORIDE IN THE CAN.
bring to a boil and reduce to barely simmering. Allow to cook for about ten minutes. Add:

1 small can of tomato paste and dissolve in the sauce. Add water to thin as necessary to prevent the sauce from being so thick as to sit on the bottom and scorch.

The heat should now be very low, and the sauce barely moving at all. Add:

1 T sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 packet of Lipton's Onion Soup Mix(she would roll over in her grave if she knew I told you that)
1 coarsely chopped onion(yellow or white)( Mom did not like wimpy half dissolved onions so she put them in late, you may like it better added with the meat)
1 chopped green pepper

Cover the pot tightly and simmer for at least two hours. Check and stir often.

Taste and correct the seasoning, adding any of the herbs, salt and pepper necessary.

Continue to cook at least one more hour.

*Beef was preferred in our house, but pork, or veal would be perfectly OK. A classic combination would be to do a third of each. We would also add pepperoni at this point.
You can double the sauce without ground beef and add meatballs in the last hour.
Chicken, beef and pork cuts would also be great, and if the temperature is kept low, they will fall off the bone, or, cooking longer, will fall apart in the sauce. Mom preferred to poach her meatballs in the sauce rather than pre-cooking them in any way. White meats did not have clove in the sauce.
Try this sauce without the ground beef and then pot roast a large cut of beef in it. Great for Bracciole made with bread crumbs, raisins, parsley, nuts, garlic and cheese.

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