Thursday, August 20, 2009

Is It Sauce or Gravy? The Great Tomato and Pasta Debate

There's really no debate. Call it whatever you like. I prefer to call it sauce, while some of my relatives and friends call it gravy. Whatever the case, there are a million and one ways to make it and pretty much everyone loves it. I use a recipe that is part my own invention, part my mother/grandmother's recipe and part my Aunt Linda's recipe. God bless my Aunt Linda and cousin Lindy for having the patience to come over one freezing December night and show me how to make 'gravy' and meatballs. That was 4 years ago, and I have been working on my sauce/gravy making skills ever since. There are a couple of tricks that I have learned since making my own meatballs and sauce. For starters, only use 80 -85% fat free ground beef. Any less fat in the meat tends to make the meatballs very dry. Adding grated Parmesan to your meatballs adds great flavor. In my experience, Tuttorosso products(sauce,puree and peeled plum tomatoes with basil) make the best sauce/gravy. Like I previously said, there are a million ways to make sauce/gravy and meatballs. I'm sharing my recipe with you, but feel free to add comments and share your own.
Jaime's Homemade Pasta Sauce/Gravy
1 large can (32 oz) of Tuttorosso Tomato Sauce
1 large can (32oz) of Tuttorosso Tomato Puree
1 can Tuttorosso Italian Style Peeled Plum Tomatoes
1/2 TBSP of Garlic or two diced cloves
1-2 TBSP of salt (adjust to taste)
1/2 TBSP of pepper
1/4 TBSP of oregano
1/4 cup of diced onion (This is all you need - more over powers the taste)
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan
Pinch of hot pepper
Add plum tomatoes to bottom of a large pot. Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher or fork. This adds some bulk. Add sauce, puree and spices, stirring intermittently. Simmer for at least an hour, leaving a wooden spoon in the pot - my mother swore this was the secret to great sauce.
Parmesan Meatballs
2 Lbs 80-85% fat ground beef
2 eggs
1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
2 TBSP of salt
1 TBSP of pepper
1 TBSP of garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 TBSP olive oil
Heat oil in frying pan - you can also chop up a clove of garlic and a tiny bit of onion and add to oil. Brown them and remove; they give the olive oil a nice flavor.
Combine all ingredients to ground beef and make sure they are mixed well. When complete, shape meatballs and add to heated pan. Using a slotted spoon or large spoon, keep turning the meatballs so they brown evenly. Once completely cooked and firm, add to sauce.
Serve meatballs and sauce/gravy over your choice of pasta(Here I have a mix of Cappellini and a few errant Wagon Wheels(Piccolini) that escaped the kid's pasta). Garnish with grated Parmesan and serve.

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