Wednesday, March 16

Brooklyn-Style Spaghetti Sauce (aka Gravy)

Note: Recipe serves 20-something people, so plan on leftovers (feezes well). I suppose you could halve the quantities, but no Italian has ever done that.

  • 2 large cans tomatoes – peeled or diced
  • 1-2 8oz cans tomato pastetomato paste,
  • 2 lbs ground meat – I like to mix beef and bison or lamb
  • 1 brown onion
  • half head of peeled garlic
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • half a bottle of red wine, not too sharp or sweet
  • oregano (fresh/dried)
  • basil (fresh/dried)
  • maybe a bay leaf or two
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil

Mix meats together in bowl, and season it with salt pepper, and dried herbs if you are using them.

Chop the onion in a medium or coarse dice. Use enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large stock pot a couple-three millimeters deep. Sautee the onion over medium-low heat until translucent, tennish minutes. Maybe throw a few diced garlic cloves in there about five minutes in, but don’t let it brown.

Add ground meat, sautee until thoroughly browned, stirring every couple of minutes. Once browned, add the tomatoes and one can of tomato paste. It’s ok to add a bit of water if you use that to get residual tomato product out of the can. Add the rest of the garlic, either pressed or finely diced. Add the sugar (or honey) and wine. If you have bay leaves, throw 1 or 2 in there as well.

Cook for an hour before bothering to taste it, stirring occasionally. Putting the lid on will help things cook down faster, though later you will want to at least crack the lid so the sauce can cook down.

Adjust seasoning as you continue to cook it, though be careful not to over-salt. Best if you have time to let the sauce cook for 4 hours or so, but if you don’t have that much time, you can use the additional tomato paste to thicken the sauce. Finely chop the fresh oregano and chop or shred into strips the basil, if using. Add the fresh oregano to sauce in the last 20 minutes or so. Either add the basil directly to sauce just before serving, or serve in a bowl as a condiment if you have picky eaters (children).

Remember to fish out the bay leaves – you don’t want to hear the screams of children with a bay leaf on their plate.