Prep 30 mins
Cook 4 hrs
Everyone, I know, has a recipe for gravy that was made by their Italian grandmother and everyone will tell you their family's sauce is the best. This sauce is an adaptation from "The North End Italian Cookbook" by Marguerite DiMino Buonopane. The North End is Boston's Italian neighborhood and the author was celebrated as one of it's best cooks. I thought the original recipe had too much meat and not enough tomato, so I changed those proportions a bit. I don't know if this is as good as your grandmother's but the last time I made this my father and brother-in-law sat down with a bowl of sauce and bread for dipping and finished the entire loaf. The meatballs are from Dom Deluise's cookbook and really are the best I've ever had.
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
- 1 recipe meatballs (recipe follows)
- 1⁄2 lb piece beef
- 1⁄2 lb piece pork or 2 -3 lean pork chops
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- dried basil
- dried mint
- red pepper flakes
- 1⁄2 tablespoon sugar (to taste)
- 1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 (28 ounce) cansground tomatoes
- 2 (28 ounce) cans water
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1⁄4 lb ground pork
- 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1⁄2 cup milk
- 1⁄2 cup fresh parsley or 8 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
- 1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Fry beef and pork in 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large saucepot.
- Remove meats as they brown and add another 1/4 cup oil to the juices in the pan.
- Saute the onion, garlic, and 2 pinches each of the seasonings until the onion is transparent.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the paste melts into the oil. This is called "Italian roux".
- Stir in an extra couple of pinches of the seasonings. Add the tomatoes and blend.
- Fill the two tomato cans with water and add water until the sauce is as thick as you like it. Remember the sauce is going to cook down.
- Let the sauce come to a boil and add salt and pepper and an additional 2 pinches of seasonings.
- Return the meat to the pan and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours. Stir every 15 minutes or so using a wooden spoon.
- Brown the sausages in some olive oil and add to sauce with sugar to taste. Simmer another hour.
- Make meatballs and either fry in oil or bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Add to sauce.
- Cook for an additional hour. Add water as it cooks if you think it needs it, but you should have a sauce that doesn't separate on the plate.
- Remove meats and let sauce settle for a few minutes until fat rises to the top. Skim as much fat as possible from the sauce. The less fat it contains, the better the sauce.
- This sauce freezes beautifully.