The Functional Hermit

musings from a homebody

NFL Week 13 Menu: Italian Sunday Gravy, For Real

with 2 comments

I have to admit that I did make this earlier in the season, but I didn’t really do it properly. Also I have to apologize for not taking pictures while cooking the meal this week. It just did not happen. I’m starting to really screw up this whole blogging thing and need to get it figured out. Ah well, back to the gravy…

Usually when I make meatballs I simmer them in a quickie tomato sauce but that didn’t feel special enough to blog about. Then again, when I usually make Italian Sunday Gravy, I don’t put meatballs in. I brown some beef, pork and then simmer that for hours. Throw a couple of sausages into the sauce and then you’ve got a well-simmered masterpiece. This time, I’m doing it right and am just going to pretend like the meatballs never happened.

Take a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of good olive oil and heat it in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Throw in a few whole garlic cloves and get ’em sizzling. Add a one pound (ish) piece of beef or pork. I usually do one of each. You don’t need a good cut of meat. Since you’re going to simmer it for a while, those more challenging cuts are actually better here. Simmer a good piece of meat that long and you’re just going to ruin it. Brown it thoroughly on all sides, stirring the garlic cloves as you do.

After the garlic is browned remove it. Remove and repeat with any other meat you have. This is also the time if you’re going to do meatballs to fry those up. Or if you’re ambitious enough to make brasciole, get those going. No matter what kind of meat, after it’s all browned up set it aside.

Now combine 3 tablespoons of tomato paste and 1/4 cup of water and mix well. (This is one of the rare recipes I’ve encountered where you actually use more than 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and then throw the rest of that tiny, little can away. This almost uses the whole thing.) Add that to the oil and fry this mixture for 2 to 3 minutes.

Now add two 28- or 35-ounce cans of San Marzano plum tomatoes and all the juice therein. Jack up the heat and bring that all to a boil. Measure about 2/3 of a can of water and pour that in. (Note: the original recipe calls for at least a whole can of water but you can always add more later.)

Return all your meat into the saucepan. Return to boil for 5 minutes. Lower heat to a low, steady simmer. Grate some good parmasan cheese into the tomatoes. I probably do about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cheese but I just eyeball it. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and some salt and pepper. Again, remember with the salt and pepper you an always add more later. You don’t need much. Cook for at least 2 hours. I usually shoot for 3 or 4, until the meat is falling apart and the essence and flavor of the meat have fused with the sauce. About an hour or so before you’re ready to eat, throw in some sausage – about a pound of either hot, sweet or some combination of.

That’s all there is to it. Browning the meat is the most labor intensive part really. Otherwise, just make sure to stir it regularly. Like Ray Liotta says in GoodFellas, “Tell Michael to stir the sauce so it doesn’t stick.” Break up the tomatoes when you stir to help them disintegrate. Once it sticks, you’re kind of screwed. Not beyond repair, it’s just going to keep sticking over and over again. Each time it does it gets harder to clear the bottom of the pot/saucepan/whatever.

To serve, boil up some pasta until al dente. Pull out the meat and set it all aside on a plate. Check it for seasoning. Adjust accordingly. Drain the pasta and then add big serving spoonful of sauce into the pot you used to boil the pasta. Add the pasta and cook the sauce into the pasta for a minute or so. Plate your pasta and add sauce and some grated parmasan. Serve the meat separately.

On the football front, I’m taking a beating with my fantasy team. Looks like I’m taking the loss this week, but I did clinch a spot in the playoffs last week so all is not lost. It’s more than a loss though, I got my ass kicked. The worst loss of the season so far.

Giants won again too. Man do they look good. But I’ve felt all along they’re peaking at the wrong time.

Written by the bee dub

November 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Daily Happenings

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2 Responses

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  1. Quickies. Dutch ovens. Meatballs. Football. And gravy.

    Sounds like a good Sunday to me.

    World B. Furr

    December 1, 2008 at 1:45 am

  2. Yeah, it could be worse.


    December 1, 2008 at 7:55 am

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