Along with the craptastic winter weather, the January Gourmet Magazine arrived on Friday and as you can see from the cover, it’s an I-talian extravaganza. This immediately sent my mouth watering and my stomach growling and though we had pledged to eat lighter, my husband and I were destined to have meatballs and spaghetti with a meat gravy this weekend. It’s almost hardwired into our genetic makeup.
Sundays are traditionally the gravy day since you need to let the gravy simmer for hours to achieve maximum fabulousness. We picked up some supplies on Saturday: Pork ribs, ground pork, and ground beef. On Sunday morning, after the biscotti were done, and I had consulted the Gravy Oracle (my mom) I took out our heavy Le Creuset pot and poured some olive oil in the pan. Here is an approximate recipe (there are so many variations so be creative!)
1. 1/3 cup good olive oil
2. 1 whole onion cut in half
3. 1/2 cup red wine
4. 2+ cans of good plum tomatoes, crushed up
5. 1 package of pork ribs (we had some leftover pork from another dish in the freezer so we threw that in too, some people make bresciole, etc etc)
6. Handful fresh or dried basil
7. 1/2 can tomato paste
8. 4 or 5 large cloves of garlic
9. salt & pepper to taste
I poured the oil into the pot and let it heat up on med-high heat. Once it was hot, I added the pork and the onion and some salt and let the meat get nice and brown. I turned it once (after about 3~4 minutes) and let it brown on the other side. I added the garlic towards the end of the browning process so it could get toasty but not get burned in the bottom of the pot and then in goes the tomato paste and the wine. Use the liquids to scrape up the brown bits and allow them to reduce for about 4~5 minutes.
Add your tomatoes and basil and a touch more salt and pepper and let the whole thing simmer on the stove on low heat for at least 2 hours, turning occasionally and it will look like this:
I let the sauce cook down early and then shut it off. This is one of the best smells in the world. They should make gravy air freshner, I’d buy it! To go with the gravy, I made some meatballs later in the day. You can make the meatballs early and once they are baked, you can set them into the sauce to simmer, or you can bake and eat right away. It is all good. Here is the meatball recipe I use which you can use for traditional meatballs or for turkey meatballs or chicken meatballs, etc etc:
1. 1lb ground pork
2. 1lb ground beef
3. 2 eggs
4. 4-5 slices old bread, soaked in about 1/3 cup of milk
5. 1/2 cup parmesian (feel free to add more, this is a huge flavor!)
6. handful chopped fresh parsley
7. 1 large garlic clove minced
8. salt + pepper to taste
All all ingredients to a large bowl, mix well with hands, form into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. I bake the meatballs in the oven which is easier and I believe a little healthier than frying them on the stove top. I bake them at 375 for about 25 minutes (more or less depending on how large they are).
I reheated the sauce for about 25 minutes while the pasta cooked on the stove so it was all ready to go at the same time. Sunday comfort food doesn’t get much better than this !