You see, my dad always joked that he'd married the only Italian in Brooklyn that didn't know how to cook. But my mom would always make a gravy with pork or meatballs or sausage or braciole (I had to look up how to spell that. It doesn't look like it's pronounced, which is bra-jhole). I always assumed that that meant a gravy was one of the easiest things that you could make, and that everyone made it.
Edit: According to my know-it-all brother, it's called a gravy because it contains the meat drippings, like the brown stuff you make for turkey. Sauce is meat free. So HA!
If you say, "I'm making pasta sauce," I think of a thin tomato sauce with no meat. Like the jarred stuff. I don't know why. I've learned that my mind is a mysterious place.
|I tried to make it not look like a smiley face, but it didn't work.|
Not that I've never cooked with fresh tomatoes. I've cooked down some cherry tomatoes for sauces over meats or stir fries, but thin sauces. Not a gravy. (Okay, maybe I do know why I think of the word sauce like that.) But I generally prefer fresh tomatoes as-is. A nice thick slice with fresh mozz and some fresh basil. Yum.
Confession: I actually don't add my spices at the end. I add them at the beginning, and I like it better that way. But I also know how it should taste at the beginning versus how it should taste at the end. You novices don't want to over-season (but a pot this big is very forgiving, if you want to experiment).
|Happy spaghetti is happy.|
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
½ cup chopped onion
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
12 oz. water
2 bay leaves
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
Garlic (powder to taste or 2 cloves minced)
Crushed red pepper (optional)
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. If using minced garlic, add to the oil and cook until fragrant. Add the ground meat and onions, seasoning liberally with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until the meat is browned. Add the crushed tomatoes, paste, and water, and stir until well combined. Add the bay leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a minimum of 2 hours, 4-6 hours preferable. Add the cheese, stirring well until fully incorporated. Season as desired (I like lots of oregano and garlic, with just a pinch of red pepper). Take off the heat and serve over pasta.
Tip: After draining the pasta, mix in 1-2 cups of sauce. This does dual duty of flavoring the pasta and keeping it from sticking together.
Recipe by Kim (with help from Mom)