Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Red Sauce with Meat

Italian-Americans call this gravy. Once upon a time on Sundays, an Italian-American mama would start working on this dish early, right after Mass. The house would fill with the aroma of pungent garlic and sweet basil. In the evening, her whole family would gather at the table and talk and shout and laugh. And eat. This ritual bound them to one another like a sacrament.

Next Sunday, gather your family together and spend sometime reconnecting. And mangia!

Servings: 6-8
Hardware: A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a large Dutch oven (or other big pot with a heavy bottom), a wooden spoon, a can opener
Time: Prep: 15 minutes Cooking: 2 hours (or more)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onions diced (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 medium green pepper (1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled, diced
  • 8 oz portabello mushrooms
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound Italian sausage (mild or spicy)
  • 3 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes – do not drain
  • 1-14.5 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1-15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  1. Heat the oil in the Dutch oven on medium.
  2. Remove the sausage from the casing.  Cook and crumble the sausage and beef, until they are no longer pink. (About 7 minutes)
  3. While the meat is cooking prep the veggies. Dice the onion, pepper, and garlic. Wash and slice the mushrooms.
  4. Drain most of the fat from the pot. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms to the Dutch oven.
  5. Stir and allow the onions, etc to sweat for 4-5 minutes. The onions should be bubbling, but not browning. Stir occasionally. Cook until the onions are translucent.
  6. Add the Italian seasoning. Add the beef stock, wine, and tomatoes. Allow the sauce to come to a boil and then turn down to low.
  7. Simmer the sauce, uncovered for about 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.
  8. 15 minutes before serving stir in the basil and oregano.
Serve over spaghetti with toast. Offer your family shredded Parmesan and a nice glass of Chianti.
This freezes nicely.

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