I wrote last week about introducing my kids to Sicilian Sunday Gravy, the Sicilian-American pasta sauce that so many of us grew being served to us by our nonnas. I had a mild revolt when I didn’t include a recipe, which in my defense I didn’t have since it’s usually made from instinct and experience. But I promised that next time I made it, I would write it down and so here it is. Don’t follow this as iron-clad rules, but more as a guideline. Do what feels right.
2 lbs Italian sausage, sweet or spicy
1 lb pork (butt, shoulder, chops, or trimmings)
2 lb bone-in beef (ribs, shank, ox tail, short ribs, etc)
1 large onion, dice
1 large carrot, grated
4 garlic cloves, diced
2 – 28oz cans crushed tomatoes*
1/2 – 12oz can tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Basil
2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Fennel seed
1 tsp Rosemary
1/2 tsp Anise seed
* (If you have sauce leftover from last time you made, you can add it back in. If not, then add another can of crushed tomatoes and increase the herbs and spices a bit.)
Brown the sausages in an oven-safe Dutch oven over medium heat but don’t cook through. Set aside. Put some olive oil in the pan and heat. Salt the pork and beef on all sides. Brown the pork in the Dutch oven on all sides. Brown the beef in the Dutch oven on all sides. Add more olive oil if needed. Set aside.
Drain the fat but leave the fond. Add more olive oil. Add the onions and carrots and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and mix and cook until it starts to get darker, about 3 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325
Add crushed tomatoes and leftover sauce, if using. Add 2 cups of water and wine. Add herbs and spices. Raise burner to medium high until it simmers.
Nestle all the meat back in the Dutch oven, including accumulated juices. Cover and put in the oven for at least two hours. When the beef and/or pork is falling off the bone tender, take the pot from the oven, pull out the bones and any large hunks of meat. Carefully chop up any large pieces of meat into bite-size bits or shreds and return to the sauce. Serve over pasta.
- Sicilian Sunday gravy: Own photo