Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Gravy

About a week ago, I asked y'all what dish I should make to celebrate my weight loss, and most of the replies indicated I should go with Julia Child's beef bourguignon.  But like a true muttonhead, I went with the Sunday Gravy. 
I'll save the bouguignon for when I own a decent dutch oven.  (hint  hint, birthday bunny)

I believe the first time I heard of Sunday gravy was from everyone's favorite perky little food temptress, Rachael Ray.  Hey, say whatcha want, she makes some yummy stuff.  I thought it was an odd name for a tomato sauce, but it grew on me.  

Then a few weeks ago, I saw Velva's wonderful Sunday sauce at her blog Tomatoes on the Vine, and knew it was something I wanted to try.  Any dish that incorporates 5 different kinds of meat earns my respect right away.  I did weenie out a bit and left out one of the meats.  I thought my family might send me to one of those rehab places for people with meat addictions if I included them all.  

So this sauce is not something you want to make on a day when you're rushed for time, as there are quite a few steps.  Forming and broiling the meatballs, browning the meats, breaking up the tomatoes, and a good two and half hours for simmering.  But if you've got a few hours to put together a memorable meal and few folks to share it with, I think this is something you might enjoy.

Here's the recipe...don't forget to look at the end for some of the things I did differently.


For the Sauce:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 links mild Italian sausage
1 rack of spare ribs (about 3-1/2 lbs), cut between the bones into individual ribs
1 pound pork butt, cut into 4 pieces
1 large onion, diced
4 whole peeled shallots
4 whole peeled garlic cloves
3-28 ounces cans whole peeled tomatoes
20 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of rigatoni pasta

For the meatballs:
3-4 slices firm textured white bread
8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 eggs
2 ounces (about 2/3 cup) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1.  Place 3 slices of bread in a bowl and pour enough warm water over them to moisten completely.  Let stand until softened.  Crumble beef and pork into a large mixing bowl, add onion and garlic.  Beat eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper in a small bowl and add to the meats.  Break up bread and add to the meats.  Working with your hands, knead the mixture lightly until evenly blended.  The mixture should be creamy and soft.  If not, soak and add remaining slice of bread.  Chill mixture until firm, about 1/2 hour.

2.  While meatballs are chilling, start tomato sauce: In a heavy, large (about 8-quarts) pot; heat olive oil over medium heat.  Working in batches without overcrowding the pot, brown spare ribs, sausages and pork butt well on all sides, removing as they brown. (Add small amounts of oil if necessary during browning.)  When all the meat is browned, add the onion, shallots and garlic to the pot.  Cook, stirring, until the shallots and onion are lightly browned, about 4 minutes.  Place tomatoes in a bowl and break up into small pieces with a whisk or your hands.  Add tomatoes, half the fresh basil, salt, dried basil, dried oregano, red pepper and black pepper to taste. Return meat to pot.  Bring to boil, lower the heat and simmer until sauce is thickened and ribs are tender, about 2 hours.

3.  While the sauce is simmering, preheat the broiler.  Using about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture for each, roll 8 meatballs with your hands, placing them on a broiler pan as you go.  Broil until well browned on top, about 4 minutes.  Turn them and brown the second side.  Add the meatballs to the sauce gently so you  don't break up the meatballs.

4.  To serve: cook rigatoni in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions.  Meanwhile, stir remaining basil into the sauce.  Drain pasta and return it to the pot.  Add enough of the sauce to lightly coat the pasta and transfer it to a large platter.  To serve family style, arrange the meats around the edge of the platter and top the pasta with more sauce.  Serve remaning sauce and grated cheese separately.

*The recipe didn't specify beef or pork spare ribs.  I went with beef, I think either would be fine
*After the meats had simmered for a while, I took the ribs out and let them cool for a few minutes, cut the meat off into bite size pieces then put the meat back into the sauce, and gave the bones to my small black dog.
*I left out the sausages, although I think they'd be super in there
*The recipe says "whole" shallots and garlic.  I think giving them a rough chop is a good idea.

Now about that "pasta", and I use that term loosely, that my sauce is sitting on.
I ran across a Michael Chiarello recipe for a pappardelle that didn't require a pasta making machine, you just roll it out.  Seemed simple enough.
It seemed to me the amount of eggs you add to the dough was completely overwhelming and impossible to work with.  I had to add about a cup of flour to make it workable, and then I really didn't get it rolled out thin enough, and it resembled dumplings a lot more than pasta.  It didn't really make enough to feed more than 2 or 3 people.  Having said that, I'm glad I gave it a try, and thought it was pretty good with the sauce.  Since it had a thicker consistency, it held up nicely to the hearty sauce. 


Krista said...

I am absolutely drooling over your Sunday Gravy. You see, I have a meat addiction as well. : ) I've gotta try this!

So...back on track for Monday? lol.

Julie said...

You bet!

Mary at Deep South Dish said...

Wow. Wow. Wow. Yes, I've heard of this Sunday Gravy thing - it's classic New York Italian, right? I have wanted to do this dish for some time, what a great recipe! Would much rather have shared a meal with you!! ;)

Julie said...

There was plenty to share! If it's a New York specialty, book me a flight:)

theUngourmet said...

Such a gorgeous dish! You're photos are awesome! :) My husband would go for this for sure!

teresa said...

oh my goodness, how yummy!

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm glad you made this one. I love any dish that has mounds of meat.

Mary said...

What an incredible effort. I'll never look at red sauce in the same way again :-). The meatballs sound incredible. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Juliana said...

Wow, this sauce must taste delicious...with all the goodies in it...

Katy ~ said...

My BF would build an altar to worship me at if I made this for him. I think it might be worth the effort, grins.

Bridgett said...

Now this is a Sunday meal! Wow. You really put a lot of effort into this meal that I can bet you lost a pound or two just in prep, lol. The flavors all look and sound amazing. Kudos to you for making your own pasta as well.

Deborah said...

This sounds like a great meal for one of those days that you have lots of time to cook and make it perfect. I definitely need to try this sometime!

sweetlife said...

what a gravy..oh my delish!!


Mimi said...

You and Velva have a good thing going with this Sunday Gravy.

Kim said...

This sounds like one of those intense recipes that is well worth the effort! I know my husband and I would love it. Kudos to you for making your own pasta - you really went all out for this meal and it looks fabulous:D

Anonymous said...

The sauce sounds just fabulous! Yum!

tasteofbeirut said...

Congratulations on your weight loss victory and what a wonderful dish to celebrate it with!

Maureen said...

That looks delicious! :D

Stopping by from SITS.

Kate at Serendipity said...

Congratulations on your weight loss. THAT'S something to celebrate! And this looks like the perfect way to celebrate it. I am impressed that you did all this work--and it looks like the results were worth it. I am also impressed that you made your own pasta without a machine. That takes a lot of patience!

In my Italian cooking school they told me that to make pasta you add 100 g of flour and one egg per person (plus a pinch of salt and a filip of olive oil). (less if you're filling the pasta, like ravioli). One cup of unsifted all-purpose flour weighs about 175 g, so in your (Michael Chiarello's) recipe you've got about 300 g of flour. I'd only put 3 eggs in that. Next time you make it, try it with 3 eggs and only 1 t of olive oil. That should work better. I hope you try it again.

Lara said...

It sounds amazing even if it wasn't exactly as spectacular as you'd hoped. Congratulations on the weight loss!

The Blonde Duck said...

I'll throw a princess party to celebrate your arrival!

grace said...

i saw velva's post too, and immediately commenced drooling. your version looks scrumptious--good for you for making your own pasta dumplings. :)

Velva said...

Julie, your Sunday Sauce looks awesome. I am so glad that you enjoyed it.
Thank you for thinking that this recipe was delicious enough to post.

Colleen said...

This looks soooo good. I love slow-cooked dishes like this.