I can remember when I was growing up, my mother would make spaghetti sauce. She would simmer the pot all day long. The house would smell great. Does anyone have an old family recipe similar to this? Most of the recipes I have found just want to "get it done quick"
Thanks in advance.
I grew up with a friend's mother and a neighbor who both made: "Sunday Sauce/Gravy".
Vita Greco's recipe is close to what my friend's mother used to have for us. Friday night, stop by their house, have a bowl of pasta with sauce and a pork/veal/lamb chop fished out of the pot.
Vita Greco's Gravy Recipe can be found on the Food Channel's site.
We LOVE the following recipe. I was skeptical at first because the sauce really doesn't look or taste like much when you put it together...but after simmering with the meatballs for 3 hours (or more), it is FANTASTIC. I usually add a little basil and oregano, too.
Meatball Gravy (Spaghetti Sauce)
2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
3/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 (28-ounce) cans ground tomatoes
3/4 (28-ounce) can water (from empty ground tomato can), or 21 ounces water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
For the meatballs: Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in a large bowl. Mix well. Form about 16 meatballs and place on a platter. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and fry meatballs over medium heat until browned. Repeat until all meatballs are browned. Place meatballs on new clean platter. Do not discard the oil.
For the Gravy: In the skillet, heat the reserved oil, add the onion and garlic and saute for approximately 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Fill the empty tomato paste can full of water, add to the skillet, and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Remove from heat and set aside.
In an 8-quart saucepan, add the ground tomatoes and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Fill the empty ground tomato can 3/4 full of water and add to the saucepan, along with the tomato paste mixture from the skillet and the reserved browned meatballs. Mix thoroughly but carefully with a wooden spoon so as to not break the meatballs. Add the salt, ground pepper, and parsley and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, then cover and cook on low heat for 2 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes to prevent sticking and burning on bottom of pan. Serve over al dente pasta and sprinkle with some grated Pecorino Romano cheese, along with crusty Italian bread and a good bottle of red wine.
Great, now I'm hungry again....seriously, this is very close to my family's recipe. The aunties used to say, too, that a little pork "Sweetened" the sauce (I'm sure that was stretching it) but they'd always throw in a pork chop (the lucky pork chop--the person who got it was "lucky") or a little pork sausage, something like that. But I'm sure the above would be good without.
A great spag sauce is so verstile. There is a sauce that I've been making that's been a favorite of my husband's. It definitely is a meat-lover's sauce. The longer you cook this the better it tastes.
I don't usually measure anything when I make this sauce so I'm making a guess about the measurements. It will be very close. You might need to tweak it for your own tastes.
2 cans of Hunt's spaghetti sauce
1 can of garlic roasted tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 rib of celery diced
1 med. onion diced
1/4 lb. of lean ground beef
1/4 lb. of hot ground sausage
1 pork chop with bone
1 handful of pepperoni
1 green pepper diced
1/2 t. oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 t. basil
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1. Put all meats, spices, onions, tomato paste and garlic in medium sauce pan. Brown the meats.
2. Add everything else. Simmer for at least 3 hours. You can let it simmer for the entire day. The longer it simmers the better it tastes.
I've tried all kinds of ways to make this sauce with canned tomatoes or different brands of sauces and quite honestly I thought Hunt's was the best.
As far the meats go, use only extra lean ground beef. If the sauce sounds too spicy use regular ground pork. You definitely need the pork chop on the bone as well as the pepperoni.
I usually make at least a double batch and use some of the leftovers to make lasagna!
The way I make spaghetti sauce is very simple.
2 28 oz cans of ground peeled tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 package of sweet Italian sausage, whole or sliced
a garlic clove or two, minced or whole
A good heaping tablespoon of fennel seeds
A bit of water from rinsing out the leftover tomato remnants from the cans
Salt and pepper
a small dash of sugar (sorry, purists)
One bay leaf
Place all ingredients in a cooking device (pan, crockpot, whatevah). Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer. Let simmer a long, long time, two hours, minimum. Sausage/garlic browning is optional. For the crockpot, I scrape out the tomato remnants, rather than add more water. My mother got this recipe millenia ago from my Italian godmother. Makes a soupy sauce, rather than thick.
I believe I shall go start some now!
I have been using this recipe for a few years now, its dark, thick and rich, almost a red brick colour when finished. Its a rich roasted tomato taste. When i make it I will at least double the recipe, if not more, and cook it for about 6-8 hours, slow and steady, then freeze in 1 litre containers. Its great with homemade meatballs, and or roasted veggies.
I have two pieces of advice:
1) Don't use tomato paste
2) Use Muir Glenn whole peeled organic tomatoes.
It's almost impossible to go wrong. I fry some garlic in a bit of olive oil. Puree the tomatoes. Add some oregano. And cook down to desired thickness. As your taste runs, you can add italian sausage, onions, green peppers, red pepper flakes, red wine, a dash of vinegar, a dash of tabasco, a pat of butter to finish.
I have to add wine to my sauce, usually white. It balances the acid in the tomatoes.
Although ATK prefers Progresso tomatoes in juice rather than the puree, there are many brand that they don't bother with. I've found some Italian San Marzano brands to be just as good, as long as they are in juice.
My maternal Italian family would make their own hot spiced pork sausage to add, along with cubed pork, beef, chicken pieces & meatballs till fork tender. Ground venison was sometimes added to the sausage & meatballs in the winter. Fat would be skimmed off the top of the sauce simmering on the stove in a big pot. Fresh or fresh dried oregano, basil, parsley along with garlic & onions from their garden was an integral part of the sauce with crushed hot pepper flakes from the garlands my grandmother hung in the upstairs hall for drying. We always used paste & crushed whole plum tomatoes and continue to do so. I freeze meat drippings regularly to add to new batches(fat cap removed)for extra flavor when I don't feel like simmering a ton of meat. Our freezer is never without various-flavored(basil, fennel, olive, etc.)containers of sauces for a quick toss with pasta.
This is a total bachelor recipe, and measurements are approximations only but its hard to screw it up. I like a meaty chunky tomatoe sauce, personally, and pieced this together following a childhood of mom simmering sauce all day long in a turkey pan. This recipe makes about 24 pint jars of sauce (be sure to use the wide mouth ones if you care to get the sauce out easy later!). Great for work lunches or easy dinners.
1 turkey pan on the stovetop, two diffusers so not to scorch the sauce (turkey pans are soo thin).
112oz (4x28oz) italian stewed tomatoes
56oz (2x28oz cans) diced tomatoes
56oz (2x28oz) mexican stewed tomatoes
30oz (3x10oz) Rotel original
24oz (2x12oz) tomatoe paste
3 cups water?
3lb (usually two 1.5lb packages) ground chuck, OR 3lb italian sausage
This should brim-fill most average-size turkey pans. Thinks its too much? Set all your canned stuff in the pan before you empty them to double check.
heaping capful of sweet basil
heaping capful of oregeno
1/4cup chopped garlic
sprinkle of cinammon
half capful of ground sage
two heaping capfuls of fennel seed - whir it up in a coffee bean grinder until just shredded (less, if using italian sausage)
salt to taste - doesn't need much extra because of the canned tomatoes, but just a little will make it POP on your tongue
4 bay leaves
dump all together. make sure burners are on lowest possible heat! heat just enough to barely bubble and stir every 15-25 minutes for several hours. Sometimes I make a lid with foil since my pan doesn't have a lid. Main thing is to use the lowest heat possible so you don't scorch the tomatoes. I just ordered an 8qt cast iron dutch oven for sauces like this in the future, though I'll have to adjust down the ingredients.
If you are using good quality tomatoes (i.e whole peeled San Marzano or similar) I prefer a quick sauce, as over-cooking dumbs-down the flavor of a good tomato.
My recipe: good for a pound of pasta (4-5 people).
Cover the bottom of a warm, large skillet (I use a big cast-iron pan) with good olive-oil;
peel, crush and mince 3-6 cloves garlic and brown in oil (don't burn) over med. heat;
add canned whole, peeled tomatoes with juice (unless there is too much juice, and/or juice is watery; if so discard most of juice before throwing tomatoes in);
Cook over medium heat until tomatoes soften and begin to dissolve, stirring occasionally, but lightly (20-35 minutes).
Towards end of cooking time, add 3-4 anchovy fillets (they will dissolve and add a nice saltiness to sauce, but sauce will not taste like anchovies). If you like your sauce "arrabiata"/spicy, add/stir in about half a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (or a teaspoon+ of hot giardiniera); cook for 5-10 minutes more; I like my sauce a bit chunky, but the tomatoes should be softened;
Just before sauce is ready (and a few minutes before your pasta is almost ready) take a fist-full of fresh basil leaves (or fresh oregano) and chop into a chiffonade.
When pasta is ready (or better yet, 1/2 minute before it is fully cooked) turn up the heat on the sauce, drain pasta and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce on a med-high heat, stirring to finish cooking and coat the pasta; taste for perfect doneness; if you do this right, you can turn off the burner, leave the pasta in the pan, and it will stay warm, but not over-cook! This method really helps amalgamate the pasta with the sauce.
serve pasta into bowls, sprinkle some of your basil chiffonade on top of each portion, coarsely grate sharp pecorino on top, and then some fresh pepper + serve.
Serve this with a young, good Zinfandel (from Sonoma).
I'm sure you and your table companions will like this preparation.
28 oz. can San Marzano peeled tomatoes
Anchovy paste is a good thing, too. No bones to worry about (if you're inclined to worry, that is) and there's nothing unreal or fake about it - it's just anchovies, salt and olive oil. Amore is the brand I usually get, since it's what Ralphs carries. Oh, and it's a wonderful secret ingredient in tuna salad!
My recipe comes from my MIL, who was born in Italy. I simmer on a Sunday morning, and the house smells heavenly.
Olive oil for sauteeing (3-5 tablespoons)
2 large cans of Pastene Kitchen Ready
1 tablespoon paste (I use tubed)
2 pigs feet cut in half length-wise (the butches does this)
1 small piece or salt pork (the one that resembles bacon)
6 Italian sausage
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Merlot, or other good, red, drinking wine
ground black pepper
red crushed pepper
In a dutch oven (I have a staub), heat oil and place meat in pan, on medium heat. Brown meat on both sides, about 5 min. each side, add chopped garlic. Take pan off heat. Stir for about 2 min., so garlic can glisten. Add tomato paste, stir for another 2 min., add wine and combine with wooden spoon.
Add two cans of Kitchen ready. Stir, cover with lid, but not all the way (I let it cover about 1/2 the pan. Let cook until near boiling, turn down to low. Add 1 tblsp kosher salt, 1/2 tespoon ground black pepper, and a pinch of red pepper.
I let this simmer, for about 3-4hrs. I stir every 15 min. or so. Adjust seasoning at end.
Wow. Pig's feet, huh? You are brave. I'm sure it adds great stuff to the sauce, and is incredibly authentic, I just don't know whether this urban girl could hack that. I was the kid who noted to her parents during her first drive in the countryside that they painted the cows to match the barn!
Many years ago, that is how I felt. My husband's family actually eats them, but I discard them and the piece of salt pork. The flavor of the sauce is amazing though, and the pig's feet are exceptionally cleaned at the store.
When I first got married, my MIL also showed me how to cook cow's heart too. Isn't she nice? She wanted her son, to have some of his favorite meals ;). BTW, she will be 95 in March, and is very healthy, and still living in her own apartment (family owned of course)!
OK-a couple of things-never use oregano in a sauce, gravy goes on turkey. Use Redpack tomatoes in thick puree and run them through the blender quick. You can make a good meat sauce using ground pork, beef and veal combo. Use only onion with olive oil and let the onion get "translucent", add a can of tomato paste and cook all together until the paste gets thick-add your meat-combined 1-1 1/2 lbs. to 2 large cans of Redpack tomatoes. Let the meat cook with the onion, olive oil and paste-until it is brown-don't burn. Then add your Redpack, salt, pepper, fresh basil and cook on a low flame-no cover! You can cook it as long as you like 2-3 hours-watch for sticking. Good Luck!
Long simmering can incorporate any or all of the above and allow you to make corrections along the way. My next pasta sauce at work (kitchen with sink and two-burner electric facing patio between two wings of offices) will be a long (630am-1230pm) simmered pasta sauce. The limited meat base will be something like chopped chicken gizzards or dried African game meat or smoked beef lung. The limited number of other ingredients are a sub-set of what has been mentioned at least once above.
The slow cook secret to sauce in my house was always fresh basil. Don't forget the basil leaves!
The only thing I can add to this collection of tips is, I add a parmesan rind to my sauce while it is simmering. It adds a cheesy saltiness that enriches the flavor.
This isn't a "sautee all day" type sauce, and I use it more for pizza than pasta (tend to prefer a good bolognese or different tomato sauce recipe), but I really like the "Pantry friendly tomato sauce" recipe by Alton Brown on the Food TV website. But like I said, it's better for pizzas than pasta. I mainly bring it up because I'm going to make a batch tonight, and it is on my mind.
For the kind of sauce you're talking about, just off the top of my head, I'd grab the following:
Beef + (pork &/or veal) ground (I always grind my own)
Few 28-oz cans of whole tomatoes
Onion, carrot, and celery
Basil, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves
Maybe some tomato paste and beef broth mixed together
Maybe some red wine (good enough to drink)
Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
Basically, I'd brown the meat and set aside. Then sweat the veggies (lightly salt at beginning and sweat on low heat, adding in garlic near the end) and add the meat back in. Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes go in now. Add in herbs and wine and reduce for a bit. Add in the canned tomatoes (try to crush the tomatoes with your spoon... not a bad idea to do before adding in) and maybe some beef broth and tomato paste. Simmer (don't boil!) for as long as you like... give it at least 2 or 3 hours I'd imagine.
Woah woah WOAH!!! No good gravy has onions, carrots, celery or any vegetable besides tomatoes in it. Crock pot this one all day, kids. You will win every single time or I haven't won local awards!
~3 28 oz cans san marzano crushed tomatoes. If you can't find or don't want to spend the cash on them, stick with Redpack Crushed.
~1 8oz can tomato paste
~6 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
~palmful of parsley flakes
~palmful of italian seasoning
~1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
~1 teaspoon of sugar
Mix it up and leave it alone. After the meatballs have cooked at least 4 hours on high, skim the grease. Crock it around 6-8 hours, no less on high.
~3lbs ground beef, 70% lean
~1, yes, just 1 large egg, beaten
~1/2 cup dry seasoned bread crumbs
~3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
~2/3 cup fresh romano, nothing creepy from a green can
Mix gently and shape into ping pong sized balls. Drop into hot sauce and leave it alone!
Spaghetti Meat Sauce, 24-Hour Simmer, Based on Mom's
This is our Mom's spaghetti sauce with quite a few alterations. She never used wine. She didn't simmer it 24 hours, either. But the taste and consistency is a lot like hers. Rather than being thin and tomato-y, this sauce is thick, meaty, and full of different solid vegetable flavors. This sauce does not pretend to be an authentic Italian spaghetti sauce; I doubt that any Italian sauce is similar to this. But it’s so delicious you may find yourself spooning it over a slice of bread instead of waiting for spaghetti noodles to cook. I think the distinguishing ingredients probably are the green olives, the fennel seeds--and perhaps the red wine vinegar. This recipe is in large quantities because the sauce freezes so well. It even tastes better after freezing, I think. It gets a moderate difficulty rating only because there's meat to brown or perhaps shrimp to peel and a good bit of chopping and slicing to do of mushrooms, celery, bell peppers, olives, and green onions--especially if you make 13 quarts at a time, as this recipe yields. But there is nothing at all tricky about this recipe. If you need to make half of this sauce meatless--or perhaps with ground turkey and turkey sausage instead of ground beef and pork sausage--it is best to start with two separate stock pots, right from the beginning and halve the ingredients into each as you go along. Making all the sauce in one pot and then trying to divide the sauce in two before you add the meat does not usually result in evenly splitting the solid ingredients in the sauce.
Origin: Inis Lemna Clark, San Diego
Alterations By: [Her son, Jack, Idyllwild, California]
Yield: 13 quarts
Prep Time: 1.75 hours
Cooking Time: 24 hours
Inactive Prep Time: none
Ethnicity: Non-authentic Italian
● (1) 16-qt. stockpot, with lid
● (1) 12-in. skillet, or larger
● (5) 29-oz. cans tomato sauce, Roma, Contadina brand is made with Roma tomatoes.
● (2) 12-oz. cans tomato paste, Roma, Contadina brand is made with Roma tomatoes.
● 3 tbsp. garlic, dried, minced
● 3 tbsp. oregano, dried, chopped
● 3 tbsp. basil, dried, chopped
● 7 medium bay leaves, dried
● 1 tsp. black pepper, fresh, coarsely ground
● 2 tbsp. sugar, optional, but recommended
● 2 tbsp. fennel seeds, coarsely crushed in a mortar
● 1 tsp. chili powder, optional
● 2 tbsp. olive oil *(see alternative below), for browning meat only (there are plenty of olives cooking down in the sauce already)
● 5 lbs. ground beef, lean or extra lean, or substitute ground turkey or seafood
● 1 tsp. salt, for browning meat only (the other ingredients contain plenty of salt already)
● 10 medium tomatoes, vine-ripened or hot-house, quartered
● 1 bunch celery, coarsley chopped
● 2 bunches green onions, coarsely chopped
● 3 large bell peppers, green, red & yellow, coarsley chopped
● 2 lbs. mushrooms, fresh, thickly sliced
● (2) 6-oz. drain wt. can black olives, pitted, halved
● (2) 10-oz. drain wt. jar green olives, pimento-stuffed, halved. Add the green olive juice, too
● (1) 750-ml. bottle red wine, preferably burgundy
● 8 oz. red wine vinegar
● 1-2 cups parsley, fresh, chopped
● 1.5-2 lbs. Italian sausage, sweet or hot (probably sweet), or substitute turkey sausage, or omit entirely
*Bacon and bacon dripping alternative to olive oil for browning the ground beef:
● 1 lb. bacon, fried in the pan, adds a different flavor to the sauce
● parmesan cheese, fresh grated preferred
● parsley, fresh, chopped (optional)
Begin about 24 hours before serving:
1. In the stock pot, heat the tomato sauce and tomato paste over a burner that is one-step cooler than medium.
2. Add the minced garlic.
3. Hold back 1 tbsp. of the oregano and add 2 tbsp. to the pot.
4. Hold back 1 tbsp. of the basil and add 2 tbsp. to the pot.
5. Add the bay leaves, black pepper, and optional sugar (no salt).
6. Coarsely crush the fennel seeds and add them to the pot.
7. Add the optional chili powder. Stir well.
8. In the skillet, add the olive oil and brown the ground beef well with salt and pepper and add it to the pot when browned. (*Or, if you're going with the bacon alternative, above, fry the bacon in the skillet first, chop up the bacon and add it to the pot, then brown the ground beef in the bacon drippings with salt and pepper, and add it to the pot when browned.) Meanwhile . . .
9. Quarter the tomatoes and add them to the pot.
10. Coarsely chop the celery, green onions, and bell peppers and add them to the pot.
11. Halve the black olives and add them to the pot.
12. Hold back about 1/3 of the green olives, halve 2/3 of them and add them to the pot, juice and all.
13. Hold back about 1/3 of the mushrooms (the ones with the larger caps), and thickly slice (three cuts each) 2/3 of them and add them to the pot.
14. Hold back about 1/5 (150 ml.) of the bottle of red wine, and add 650 ml. to the pot. Stir well.
15. When the sauce comes up to a low, slow boil, reduce heat to second-lowest burner setting. Simmer covered like this for 8 to 16 hours.
16. After a total of 8 to 16 hours, stir well, taste, and adjust seasonings (no salt). Stir well. Reduce heat to lowest burner setting and simmer covered until the sauce has been cooking for a total of 20 hours. Go take a walk outside because you're going to love the way the house smells when you come back in.
17. After a total of 20 hours cooking time--but still about 4 hours before serving time--stir well, taste, and adjust seasonings to taste (no salt).
18. Thickly slice the remaining larger-capped mushrooms (3 cuts each, as before) and add them to the pot.
19. Halve the remainder of the green olives and add them to the pot.
20. Add the red wine vinegar to the pot. Stir well.
21. Cut the sausages into two- to three-inch sections, brown them well, and add them to the pot. Stir well.
22. Continue to simmer covered over lowest heat for 4 more hours.
23. A half hour or so before serving, stir well and taste. If you absolutely must add salt, this is the time to do it, now that all the salty ingredients have made their contribution. I'm betting you won't add any.
24. Add the last one tablespoon of oregano and the last one tablespoon of basil.
25. Add the last 150 ml. of the bottle of wine. Stir well. Simmer covered for the last half hour or so while you cook up your pasta.
26. Just before serving, add the freshly-chopped parsley. (You can hold back some to sprinkle on top of the served dishes, if you like.) Stir the pot again very well just before serving. Smother the pasta in this sauce. If you can still see white, you need to ladle on some more. (The photo here shouldn't have any pasta showing.)
27. Serve with parmesan cheese on the side--freshly-grated if you have it, store-bought if you don't.
28. Optional: Serve with some of the freshly-chopped parsley, either on top or on the side.
Makes about 13 quarts. Sauce may be frozen in variously-sized plastic containers. (It tastes even better after freezing and reheating.)
A sauce cooked slow with meat is called gravy. I brown pork neck bones, beef short ribs, a lamb shank, add italian sausage, meatballs, and bracciole. I add garlic and 1 can tomato paste Then 2 cans of tomatoes and 1 can of water from paste can. Add salt pepper and fresh basil. bring to a boil then simmer for 3 hours.Get the Homemade raviolis ready. And don;t forget the bread
If you don't have fresh garden tomatoes - go with San Marzano canned. Fresh basil and a nice evoo are IMO the keys to begin making a red sauce gravy.
Some recipes have everything but the kitchen sink in them and are unnecessarily complicated, but it's also pretty easy to make a really rich tasting sauce without a ton of effort or ingredients.
- simmer some garlic, onions, red pepper flakes, and olive oil
- add a few cans of crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, a generous pinch of sugar, and some italian herb blend.
- in a large pan, brown several types of meats until you get some good color on them then, drain the excess fat and add them to the pan. I usually do ground beef, chunks of chuck roast, and either pork chops or italian sausage links.
- simmer for several hours stirring regularly til the meat is completely falling apart.
- add some fresh parsley (and basil if you have it) towards the end.
The thing I've never understood about a Sunday gravy is how you defat the sauce after it's finished braising.
When you do a stew in a broth or other liquid, fat slowly comes out of the meat (much more than comes out during the browning phase). Then at the end you skim off the fat.
When i cook in tomatoes, the fat stays in the sauce and it becomes heavy. Does this happen to anyone else?