Tuesday, February 05, 2008

This was okay
--Sunday Gravy

Sunday Gravy
The Sopranos Family Cookbook Copyright 2002

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound meaty pork neck bones or spareribs
1 pound veal stew meat
2 veal shoulder chops
1 pound Italian-style plain or fennel pork sausages
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 (28- to 35-ounce) cans Italian peeled tomatoes I used crushed tomatoes with basil
2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces I omitted this

***For the Meatballs*** I skipped the meatballs
1 pound ground beef or a combination of beef and pork
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs, preferably homemade
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon 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
2 tablespoons olive oil

***To Serve***
1 pound shells or rigatoni, cooked and still hot
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Pat the pork dry and put the pieces in the pot. Cook, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browned on all sides. Transfer the pork to a plate. Brown the veal in the same way and add it to the plate. Place the sausages in the pot and brown on all sides. Set the sausages aside with the pork. Drain off most of the fat from the pot. Add the garlic and cook for about two minutes or until golden. Remove and discard the garlic. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

With a food mill, puree the tomatoes, with their juice, into the pot. Or, for a chunkier sauce, just chop up the tomatoes and add them. Add the water and salt and pepper to taste. Add the pork, veal, and sausages and basil and bring the sauce to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. (I cooked this longer than 2 hours since the meat wasn't tender at 2 hours.) If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water. Meanwhile, make the meatballs: Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl. Mix together thoroughly. Rinse your hands with cool water and lightly shape the mixture into 2-inch balls. (Note: If you are making meatballs for lasagna or baked ziti, shape the meat into tiny balls the size of a small grape)

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet. Add the meatballs and brown them well on all sides. (They will finish cooking later.) Transfer the meatballs to a plate. After two hours, add the meatballs and cook for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and the meat is very tender. To serve, remove the meats from the sauce and set aside. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve the meats as a second course, or reserve them for another day.

This was good, not great but I'm not blaming the recipe. With something like a red sauce, even a few changes means that you really haven't made the recipe since the nuances really count. I skipped the veal (too expensive), used crushed tomatoes with basil instead of peeled tomatoes and fresh basil (I don't have a food mill, the organic tomatoes came with basil and fresh basil is expensive). I was going to make the meatballs but I forgot to take the meat out of the freezer and the spareribs and sausage provided us with enough meat.

So do I go grocery shopping a day early to save $10 or just forget about it? My menu isn't planned so I'll need to go shopping again over the weekend and I always spend more when I don't get everything I need at once. Ever since they changed their weekly schedule so that ads and promotions run Thu-Wed, I'm completely thrown off. I also have another promotion that needs to be cashed in by next Wed (5% off total). I think I'll save more if I plan better and go tomorrow but it kills me that I forgot to use that coupon last week.

Blast From The Past: Rigatoni Con Salsiccia (Rigatoni with Sausage) from this past December. Same basic idea as above but I think it was better.

Question of the Day: How often do you visit the grocery store? For me the answer is too often - I always hope the neigbors don't notice me coming home with yet more groceries even though I don't know why they'd care. I don't think I've ever seen any of our neighbors bringing in groceries.


Rebel In Ontario said...

I do one major shop and then about three more trips in a two week period so about twice a week, sometimes more depending on how much the hoodlums consume (usually have to go for more milk).

Anonymous said...

Oh, my gosh - I practically live there. I usually go every few days. I get tired of going so often, but at least the stores are very close by.


Sara said...

God that sounds like a lot of meat! I go to the store wayyyyy too often. There is one within walking distance of my office, so I'll walk over there at lunch to get some air and get out of work, probably 3 or 4 days a week, which is why our fridge, freezer, pantry and counters are all stuffed to the max with food right now.

ThursdayNext said...

Every few days...way too often!

Anonymous said...

Big trip every 2 weeks. I stop and shop every 3 days for a quick something though. I love to grocery shop though; is that weird? This is the coolest post. I have hundreds of cook books. I thought I was the only one!


The Cookbook Junkie said...

It's not weird - I still love grocery shopping up to the part where they tell me what my total is. In the old days though, it was so much fun to 'shop' and not really have to feel guilty about spending money (gotta eat!) since it never added up to all that much. Now, a splurge or two really adds up at the checkout.