This is part two of the only Meat Sauce recipe you’ll ever need. It’s an extremely detailed (but still simple and easy) recipe for my Grandma’s homemade, Italian Sunday Sauce and this seriously is the very best sauce you’ll ever taste. This second part is all about adding the meatballs and fall-apart-tender pork for your sauce as well as the secret ingredient and putting it all together!
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So here we are, friends- back on the Sauce train! I won't lie, I was a little scared when I pressed publish on part one of this post. This recipe is so special to me that I felt as though I was bearing my soul to you. Do you have any recipes like that? The one's that are so personal and hit all the nerves so deeply? This is totally one of those!
So most Sundays growing up (and often during the week as well!) we would go enjoy some Sunday Sauce at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I often opted to sit next to my Grandpa Gene at the dinner table.
Grandpa Gene was probably one of the most clever, charming men I've ever known. And as handsome as he was charming, he and Grandma made a gorgeous couple.
They say opposites attract and this could not be a more clear example of that. Rosie, was loud and brash and very, very opinionated and happy to tell you in no-uncertain-terms exactly what she thought all the time. She also had a heart of absolute gold and her love held no bounds.
"Papa Gene" as we called him as little girls, was extremely even tempered. He always had a welcoming smile and was full of clever anecdotes. He made it his mission to put a smile on everyone's faces and especially delighted in spending time with my sister and I, his two granddaughters. And his Rosie, well she was the apple of his eye.
Sitting next to Grandpa for Sunday Sauce was always so much fun for us as little girls. Once our plates were loaded with 'roni's, meatballs, pork and that glorious sauce, he would help us sprinkle as much Romano cheese as we wanted onto our plate.
Us kids would see the adults also sprinkling spicy crushed red pepper onto their pasta. Naturally, we would always want to follow suit and enjoy that glorious shaking of the pepper as well and were always bummed when our parents said no, because they knew we didn't like spicy food.
But Grandpa, with a mischievous gleam in his eye, would stealthily put the cover back onto the crushed red pepper (so as not to let any of that potentially-plate-ruining pepper get into our plates of food). He would then make a big show of helping us shake as much "pretend" red pepper onto our 'roni's so that we felt included in the fun without having to burn our mouths.
And after dinner he would ask us for a chocolate kiss on one cheek and a vanilla kiss on his other cheek. We, of course, would happily oblige.
It's those small, perfect moments that come flooding back when I eat this sauce. The vision of Rosie pulling to cover off of her giant pot of sauce to give it a stir and the most deliriously incredible smell rising from that pot.
The smile on her face when she would sneak our family cock-a-poo, Tia a bite of meatball or a carrot from the salad and the smile at me and put her finger up to her mouth and say "shhhhhh" with a wink.
The giggles my sister and I would have when my mom would spoon a small ladle-full of that very same sauce onto Tia's kibble. She was our little "Italian" dog after all. And her cream colored puppy beard and puppy mustache would be stained bright orange.
As I mentioned in the last post, I am typing this in the exact words Rosie dictated to my father. Any of my own personal notes and clarification will be noted in parenthesis, and as always, please feel free to comment or contact me directly if you need any further clarification.
In case you missed part one- here it is!
Other favorite Rosie recipes include:
- 6 28 oz. cans of tomato puree- each can is 1 lb. and 12 oz. my mom says she learn it as 3 cans of tomato puree and 3 cans of tomato sauce
- Baking soda
- 1 large onion remove the skin and leave it whole (note from Jessy- I cut off the ends as close to the root as possible and just peel off the first layer so that it doesn't fall apart as the sauce cooks. Rosie always told me to poke holes with the tip of your knife all over the onion so that the juices come out. Don't use a purple or red onion!)
- Romano cheese
- Put the tomato puree into a big sauce kettle. Rinse the cans out with water by flushing water between each can. In the end you end up with about 1 ½ cans of water- red water from the puree that is left in the cans. (note from Jessy- you’ll start with a half can of water because as you flush it through the other cans it doubles in volume. As you flush them through and the cans fill up add then into the pot and then fill another half can with water and start the process over. So you’ll fill approximately 1 ½ cans of water in all).
- You pour these 1 ½ cans of water into the kettle of sauce- how much water you add determines how thick your sauce will be. If you end up with more water it's ok, it will cook down.
- Now cook the kettle of sauce on the stove. Start the stove on high and as soon as it boils put the stove down to medium. You don't want to keep it boiling because it will burn the sauce.
- Then you stir it a little- see if it's the right thickness. You may think the sauce is too thick- if it is, then add water by the glass until it's the thickness that you want.
- (note from Jessy- This is important:) The sauce must boil first.- you can taste it with your finger and you'll notice a sour tomato taste- it's the acids from the tomato.
- Then add 1 level teaspoon of baking soda into the kettle of sauce and stir it- this takes the acid out. You'll notice it starts to foam up at the top of the sauce. You can scrape the foam off its too much. (note from Jessy- then you'll reduce the heat to medium low).
- Then when the sauce stops boiling and settles down you taste it again. If it's still to tomato-ey or sour or acidy add a little more baking soda. It takes about 10-15 minutes for the foam to cook down- that is, if you don't remove it. You can also start out by adding ½ teaspoon of baking soda at a time and test the taste of the sauce and continue to add small amounts of baking soda because too much baking soda will make the sauce bitter (note from Jessy- This is SUPER important- trust me, you don't want it to be too bitter!).
- Keep checking the sauce- you don't want it to boil too long or it will burn. As soon as it boils, reduce the heat so the sauce settles.
- After the meatballs and pork brown and are taken out of the fry pan, drained and the bits and pieces of onions and things from the pan are removed, add the meat to the sauce along with some of the liquid gold and mix everything well (note from Jessy- It doesn't give a measurement of how much liquid gold to add but it was about half of the liquid gold that I made and then I froze the rest.). When its cooked the grease will come to the top in a couple hours.
- Now add a whole onion- don't cut it- into the sauce kettle. Peel the skin off and put it in whole and let it cook in there. The onion gives the sauce a "sweet taste." (note from Jessy- I also remember Grandma adding a few pieces of peeled garlic that she;s poked with the tip of her knife into the sauce and then picking them out at the end. I usually press the garlic in)
- Then add ½ tablespoon of dried sweet basil or 5-6 leaves of fresh basil- you tear them and put them in. (note from Jessy- I remember my Grandma telling me a while ago to wait until the end to add the basil because it adds a bitterness to the sauce at it cooks down. Do what you think is best but I always wait until the end).
- Then add Romano cheese- this is in place of salt. You sprinkle it on and stir it in. (note from Jessy- I always wait until the end for this step as well).
- Then Bring the sauce to a boil again and as soon as it boils lower the heat, put on a cover and let it simmer for a couple of hours. Do not let it through again- so check it every now and then.
- When it's all cooked the grease will come to the top- it's done! Taste it to be sure!
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