My grandmother made the best Italian meat sauce in Brooklyn - heck, not just Brooklyn, but in the whole world, including Italy. I mean no disrespect to your own nonna or bubbe, but that's just the way it is. How good was my grandma's sauce? So good, I liked to eat it without the spaghetti. So good that a wooden spoon would stand up straight in the pot. It was thick, rich, with a flavor that would bring tears of my joy to my eyes.
She claimed - and for once, I had no reason to doubt her veracity - that she had been given this recipe by an Italian neighbor lady, before I was born, and while she and Pop were living on Avenue D in Brooklyn. This was a Big Deal, you understand - Italian mamas and nonnas did NOT give out their precious recipes to anyone, and certainly not to the Jewish lady next door. But, my grandma could be charming when she wasn't being crazy, and we have all benefitted from her infrequent bouts of sanity.
Before I go any further - today's ear worm is courtesy of Bond, James Bond. I'm never sure why these things pop up, but this one has been chasing me around the kitchen all morning.
Hold your breath and count to ten
Feel the earth move and then
Hear my heart burst again
I've drowned and dreamt this moment
So overdue I owe them
Swept away, I'm stolen
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, with roasted garlic if you got it
2 large chopped onions
2 1/2 pounds ground beef (I use Publix Market Beef)
2 large cans tomato puree
2 large (28 oz.) cans Italian plum tomatoes (San Marzano if you can get them)
2 large (12 oz.) cans Contadina tomato paste
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoon dried sweet basil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
Add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the fresh oregano and fresh basil.
Stirring frequently, bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat (take your time with this, then cover the pot, turn the heat to low to maintain a simmer, and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Stir every half hour, and always replace the cover.
If the sauce is becoming too thick, thin it with a small amount of water that has been added to the cans of tomato products and swished around.
During the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the fresh herbs, and do any reseasoning. If you don't have fresh herbs, use a teaspoon each of the dried stuff, adding for the last half hour of cooking.