Sicilian Meaty Tomato Sauce
I had the pleasure this weekend of spending time with friends and cooking. My friend Giovanna grew up in an Italian home. Her parents were first generation Italians from Sicily. We are both extreme foodies so the thought of growing up with such rich cultural heritage would be a dream come true for me. As we talked she reminisced about how her parents prepared food. She remembers 3 days dedicated just to making jarred tomatoes with everyone in the family involved. They would have stations set up and would switch because each job would become very tiring ie. like grinding the tomatoes by hand. She remembers her father making his own sausage and prosciutto, batting away wasps while squeezing grapes to make wine (which collected in a kiddy pool), and the scrumptious food they would eat at any celebration.
This weekend she walked me through how she makes her Mothers tomato sauce. In the town of Sicily where her parents grew up, meat was a sign that you were doing well. A sign of certain financial status. She told me that there are as many tomato sauces in Italy as there are Italians but that her family, based on where they grew up, always uses meat in their sauces.
This sauce was so good that I cannot wait to try to make it again. Giovanna carefully watched the sauce for color and texture to make sure it was coming along alright. After hours of cooking we were able to sit down to an incredible meal. We also had Italian sausage, chicken, and a classic Italian Potato and Green Bean Salad. See here we go on our tomato sauce making adventure.
- Extra lean ground beef (1 pkg)
- Pork braising meat (the size of a deck of cards)-ask the Italian butcher!
- 2 links of regular Mild Italian Sausage
- 2 large cans of Italissima plum tomatoes or crushed-must be ITALISSIMA!
- 1 Tbs of Italissima tomato paste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- Italissimo parmigeano 1 large piece
- 1 tbs of pesto, bought or home made
- ½ onion
- 4 cloves of garlic sliced
- 2 tbs olive oil
Heat olive oil up in a pan; hot enough to give the garlic a sizzle and fry. Then add the onion. When the onion is translucent, add the ground beef. Cook until hamburger is no longer pink.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste. If you have plum tomatoes they need to be put in a blender first and pureed.
Add the pesto. Add the 2-sausage links whole to the sauce. Add the piece of pork braising meat.
Finally add a big chunk of Parmesan cheese to the pot. The cheese will slowly melt in the pot over the next few hours. Let sit for 4-6 hours, although it tastes the best the next day. Cut up the sausage so everyone get a nice piece in their pasta, or slice it up and put back in the sauce.
When ready serve over noodles cooked according to package directions. Oh and always buy pasta made in Italy!!
The sauce should be a nice beautiful red and the sauce should thicken nicely over time. Oh, and get some beautiful little Italian kids to taste it!