In our house, the tomato sauce was referred to as Sunday Gravy. I remember my mom and nana putting the tomatoes through a food mill. They preferred a strained version of their Sunday Gravy.
Over the years I’ve taken my Nana’s basic recipe and made a few changes. My nana never mixed the meat into her sauce. The sauce with the meat was always separate from the tomato sauce that went over the pasta. I prefer my Sunday Gravy to be loaded with meat. I suppose I’ve started a new tradition.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven with lid, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan with lid, indoor grill pan, heavy grill-press
2 pounds of sweet Italian sausage (10 links)
2 1/2 pounds ground sirloin (90% lean 10% fat)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 (12-ounce) jar of roasted Piquillo peppers, puréed
2 (28-ounce) cans of San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of San Marzano whole tomatoes
1 yellow onion, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 fresh bay leaves (substitute dried)
2 1/2 cups of chicken broth or stock, unsalted
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 pint of cremini mushrooms, halved
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup of red wine of your choice (Chianti or Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 pounds (2 packages) of Pappardelle
Start by dicing the onion and mincing the garlic. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Transfer to a plate. Set aside before starting the meat.
To prepare the sausage, prick each of the links with a fork approx. three times on each side. Place the links into a 6-quart saucepot. Cover with 2 cups of chicken stock. Turn the heat to medium and cover. Poach the sausage links in the stock for about 10 minutes or until links are no longer pink and the internal temperature reads 150-degrees F. Transfer the sausage links to a plate, set aside.
Preheat an indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. Arrange the sausage links on the grill pan. Place a grill press over the links to ensure even grilling. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes, per side. Once all the links have grill marks on both sides transfer the links again to a plate. Depending on the size of your grill pan, you may need to do this step in batches. Once the sausage links are cool enough to handle, slice them on a bias. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In the large sauté pan, over medium-high heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the ground sirloin, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Season with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink. Transfer the ground beef to a bowl and set aside.
In a large Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cook the onions until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, and tomato paste stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms, minced garlic, dried oregano, bay leaves, and fresh thyme leaves, stir to combine, cooking for another 5 minutes.
Add the red wine and 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer. Allow the liquids to reduce by half before adding the meat back into the pot, around 5 minutes.
Finally, add the crushed tomatoes, the whole tomatoes, brown sugar, and Piquillo pepper, purée. Using a pair of kitchen shears cut the whole tomatoes in half. Stir gently and simmer for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
After 3 1/2 hours taste for seasoning to see if you need to add a little more salt. Turn off the heat and add chopped fresh basil and stir. The sauce is done put a lid on it and keep warm until pasta is cooked
Cook the pasta of your choice in boiling salted water until al dente. My Nana always told me do not to drown your pasta in sauce, use it as a condiment. You want a little of everything but, you want the sauce to compliment the pasta. There you have it, my Sunday Gravy.