Sauce or Gravy...Italian Treasures to share

No matter what you call it, whenever I invite folks to my home for the Italian Meal, I get enthusiastic replies! Italian Ingredients I must confess, I am an Italian wanna- be.  Years ago, I was introduced to a...

No matter what you call it, whenever I invite folks to my home for the Italian Meal, I get enthusiastic replies!

Italian Ingredients
Italian Ingredients

I must confess, I am an Italian wanna- be.  Years ago, I was introduced to a Simple Sauce made by an Italian with great love and passion. It was a rich and chunky tomato sauce that was not the sauce I remembered as a child.  He eagerly shared his recipe and challenged me to re-create his gravy.  Then, there was another Italian who persistently invited me to a Macaroni Dinner.  I was puzzled by the name, but accepted the invitation and walked into her home to a visual and sensory overload.  The kitchen perfume was garlic and sausage and the counters were all covered with the collective dishes to be served.  There was extra Red Sauce in two bowls, meatballs in another, sausages in yet another, stuffed peppers in a casserole dish, creamy eggplant smothered in sauce in a pan, bowls of rigatoni, fresh Italian bread, butter and fresh grated Romano cheese.  To Fred and Paula, thanks for the introduction to your food and your love of cooking.  I remain a wanna-be Italian.

Let me share these recipes with you and hope that you take the time to make these gifts of love.

Simple Italian Sauce

Trim fat, from 4 bone-in Pork Chops, leaving just a bit of fat for flavoring.  Season these chops with salt and pepper.

In a Dutch oven, brown these chops in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Remove chops after they are browned and caramelized.  Set aside on a plate.

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In the same Dutch oven, add at least 2 onions (I often use 4) diced small.

Saute the onions for at least 10 -15 minutes.  Add more olive oil if needed.

Add 4 – 6 cloves of chopped garlic at the end.  Cook for about 3 – 5 more minutes – DO NOT burn the garlic.

Generously salt and pepper the onions and garlic.

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Add back the browned pork chops with the bones and any juices collected in the plate.

Then, you will be creating the actual sauce with:

2 - 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes or tomato puree

2 - 14 – 16 oz. cans of tomato sauce

2 small cans of tomato paste

** I was always advised to always use different brands of tomato products to make the sauce, this balances the acidity…and it works!

Add about 28 oz of water to this Tomato mixture, depending on the thickness you desire on your sauce.

If I have any red wine leftover or in the freezer, I would add about ¼ - ½ cup to the sauce

Add a pinch of sugar – to cut the acidity.

Season this well with any Italian Blend Seasoning.  I would use at least 2 tablespoons for this p

Miss Paula’s Meat Balls 

Meatballs
Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ # Ground Chuck – or Market Grind Beef (this is an option at a Super Market with a Fresh Meat Dept.  I will get mine ground fresh the day I will prepare and fry.)
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 ½ cup Italian flavored bread crumbs – Progresso is my favorite
  • 1 ½ - 2 cup Romano and/or Parmesan cheese – Shredded – use real cheese!  I like the combination of both cheeses.
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt  - remember you have salt from the cheeses
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  1. With wet hands, pinch off small amounts, I prefer mine the size of quarters. Roll into balls.
  2. Fry in olive oil.  Get a good crust on all sides for the best flavor.  These can be made a day in advance.  Cool and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to add to sauce.
  3. Add to sauce, warm throughout and enjoy!

Italian Sauce with Sausage 

Sausage Sauce
Sausage Sauce

I prefer fresh and usually do a package of Mild and Spicy Hot Italian Sausages from a Super Market/Meat Market that grinds and makes these sausages.   Usually, this will be 5 links of Mild and 5 of Spicy.

Take the casings off the sausages and brown the meat in a large Dutch Oven.  Move this to a plate so that you can sauté the onions and peppers in the pot.

In the same Dutch oven, add at least 2 onions (Depending on the size, I will use up to 4 onions) diced small.

I also chop red, orange or yellow peppers for this sauce.  Use at least two peppers, your choice. DO not opt for green peppers.

Saute and cook the onions and peppers, at least 10 -15 minutes.  Add more Olive Oil if needed if the sausage was very lean.

Add 4 – 6 cloves of chopped garlic at the end.  Cook for about 3 – 5 more minutes – DO NOT burn the garlic.

Generously salt and pepper the onions and garlic.

Then, you will be creating the actual sauce with:

2 -- 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes or tomato puree

2 -- 14 – 16 oz. can of diced tomatoes – I like the new Hunt’s Fire Roasted Tomatoes

2 - small cans of tomato paste

Add about 28 oz. of water to this sauce, depending on this thickness you desire.

If I have any red wine leftover or in the freezer, I would add about ¼ - ½ cup to the sauce.

A pinch of sugar

Season this well any Italian Herb Blend with Oregano.  About 2 tablespoons crushed in your hand.

Mix well and simmer on the stove a few hours.  Then cool and refrigerate.

***Again, best served the next day or a few days later.

Serve over any kind of pasta.

Brisole –   Italian Stuffed Steak

Flatten Cube Steaks with meat mallet

Pepper and garlic power these steaks on both sides.  (No salt as you will be using cheeses)

Top with a combination of Parmesan or Romano cheeses and fresh herbs (I like fresh basil) and roll-up.  Tie off with cooking twine to keep this rolled.

Pan fry in olive oil, golden coloring on all sides is desired. Then cool and store in the refrigerator until time of heating in the Simple Sauce recipe above.

Suggest that you first cut the strings and cut in half to prepare them for their bath in the sauce.   Very rich.

Add to the simple sauce and simmer until ready to serve.

Mangia – I hope you enjoy these Italian treasures.

ot of sauce.  Crush this in your hands before adding to the sauce.

Mix well and simmer on the stove a few hours.  I like to simmer for 4 – 6 hours.  Then cool and refrigerate ***Best served the next day or a few days later.  I typically make my sauce on Wednesday for a Saturday serving.

When you are ready to re-heat the sauce, retrieve the bones from the sauce and discard.  I use a strainer/colander to help in the collection of the bones.

Shred the pork chops and add back to the sauce.

Serve over any kind of pasta.  This is a great starter sauce that is ready for Meatballs.