Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Tomato Sauce…or is it Tomato Gravy????
Let’s face it; as much as we would all love to stroll out into the back yard and pick beautiful vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh basil from our garden to concoct a big old pot of saucy love, we are not all able to do this. Maybe where you live you can’t have a garden, maybe it’s the dead of winter and the tomatoes in the grocery store are just plain sad, maybe, like me….you have a black thumb instead of a green one. Whatever the reason, I am here to tell you that you can make homemade, delicious tomato sauce. You CAN have that big old pot of love simmering away on the stove! The quality of canned tomatoes in your local grocery store is excellent and you can really produce a lovely, bubbling pot of sauce if you want to. Try to look for San Marzano tomatoes (many brands use San Marzano tomatoes –it is a specific region in Italy)…otherwise opt for Progresso or Cento brand.
My grandmother made sauce, my mother made sauce, all of my aunts made sauce (of course they are all Italian and they call it GRAVY). The recipe that follows is a compilation of their recipes, my own experiments and is a mish mash of goodness that I want to share.
These are not really exact measurement just estimates…this is not an exact science…remember be FEARLESS!
You will need:
2 large cans of tomatoes Puree w/ basil
1 large can tomatoes whole, w/ basil -crushed with your hands
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
10 cloves of garlic -smacked and minced
12 -15 small homemade meatballs
1 lb good Italian sweet sausage- cut bite size
1 lb good Italian hot sausage -cut bite size
Sugar (optional - start with a few tablespoons)
In a very large pot, coat bottom with a few glugs of olive oil. Sauté garlic until fragrant (do NOT brown it). Add to the garlic and olive oil the pureed tomatoes. Then add the crushed whole tomatoes and the fire-roasted tomatoes. Simmer on low. In a large skillet, add a few glugs of olive oil and brown the sausage- then remove from pan and put into the tomato mixture. Now fry meatballs in the same pan(do not wipe out or rinse the pan. When the meat balls are brown, put them and all of the flavorful crusty bits and any oil left in the pan right into the sauce. Simmer at least 2 hours, but you could simmer it all day…add water(or more tomato puree) if it gets to thick (or even a splash of red wine) Taste and season…if it seems very acidy add the sugar. Just before serving chop or julienne the basil and throw it into the pot and stir through.