Friday, February 3, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Sunday Gravy (Tomato Sauce with Meat) and Homemade Meatballs


Okay... it's February.
The holiday bills have been coming in.
And they're doozies.
Oh, well, Christmas comes but once a year.
Yeah, I know, that doesn't help.


Unfortunately, the gang wants to eat real dinners.

Recently Safeway had a sale on pasta.
Guess even store manager got their holiday bills.


Whether it’s Sunday dinner at Tony’s house or at Artie Bucco’s Nuovo Vesuvio restaurant, food was definitely a central part of The Sopranos.

The Sopranos Family Cookbook, by Artie Buco, has a recipe for Tomato Sauce.
Okay... he called it Sunday Gravy.
Right. 
Whatever.

I'm sure he gave Carmela the recipe.
And Tony called it whatever he wanted.


Small notes: 
If you're making meatballs for lasagne or baked ziti, shape the meat into tiny balls.
Artie suggested shells or rigatoni.
Don't panic.


                        Tomato Sauce

Makes about 8 cups

The Sauce

Puree or chop
Three 28- to 35-ounce cans Italian peeled tomatoes

Heat in a large heavy pot over medium heat
 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Pat dry and put into the pot
 1 pound meaty pork neck bones or spareribs
Cook, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until nicely brown. 
Transfer to a plate.

Brown in the same way and add to the plate
 1 pound veal stew meat or 2 veal shoulder chops
 1 pound Italian-style plain or fennel pork sausages
Drain off most of the fat from the pot. 

Add 
 4 garlic cloves
Cook for about two minutes or until golden. 
Remove and discard the garlic.

Stir in and cook for 1 minute
 1/4 Cup tomato paste
Add the canned tomatoes

Add 
 2 Cups water
 Salt and freshly ground pepper
 6 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Add the pork, veal, and sausages and bring the sauce to a simmer. 
Partially cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. 
If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water.


While the sauce is simmering, make 
The Meatballs

Combine in a large bowl
 1 pound ground beef or a combination of beef and pork
 1/2 Cup plain bread crumbs
 2 large eggs
 1 teaspoon of very finely minced garlic
 1/2 Cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
 1 teaspoon salt
 Freshly ground pepper
Mix together thoroughly.

Rinse your hands with cool water and lightly shape the mixture into 2-inch balls.

Heat in a large heavy skillet
 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Add the meatballs and brown them well on all sides.
Transfer the meatballs to a plate.

After the sauce has simmered for two hours, 
add the meatballs and cook for 30 minutes.


To serve, remove the meat from the sauce and set aside.
Toss with the sauce
 1 pound shells or rigatoni, cooked and still hot

Sprinkle with
 Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

Serve the meats as a second course, or reserve them for another day.

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