Sauce on Sunday

I know that I don’t usually post on a Sunday, but I came up with a delicious idea last night when I was making sauce for dinner, (that my husband never made it home to eat), and there is nothing better than a big pot of sauce simmering away on a Sunday. Sauce with a lot of depth can require a lot of work. My friend Gilda starts at 7 o’clock in the morning and doesn’t finish until 7 at night. There are all kinds of things involved with her sauce, meatballs, and secrets, and I would say love for more than everyone on her block. Her regular batch takes up the entire stove and must be enough to feed sixty four people. She lives alone, but the first Thursday of every month is sauce night at Gilda’s; she doesn’t care who you are, if she sees you coming, you’re eatin’ sauce at her house.
Cooking a meat sauce for a good bit of time is important to develop flavor, but you don’t have to go the twelve hour route. At least two though; if you have two hours, you’re all right.
Cut up a medium sized yellow onion, and get your best olive oil in the pan. Throw in three whole cloves of garlic, and give them a little color. Add the onion, and over low heat, cook the onion a good fifteen minutes. This is critical. Add a sprig of rosemary, a bay leaf, a pound of beef (or even better a mix of beef, veal and pork), seaason with salt, and here’s my idea: a couple of raw chicken bones! The other night when I roasted off some chicken breasts, I cut off the rib cages first, and froze them. You can just as easily add a few raw wings or a chicken leg for the same effect. Brown the meat and chicken bones slowly. When the ground meat is completely cooked through, strain the whole pot over the sink, to get rid of the fat. Put it all back in the pan, and add a 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes, a can of water, a piece of carrot, a little piece of celery, and a few Tablespoons of roughly chopped parsley.
Cook this, stirring every once in a while until you can’t resist it any more. If you want to make it decadent, off the heat, add a few Tablespoons of heavy cream at the end and a good grating of your best parmesan. Don’t forget to take out the bones, the bay leaf, and the rosemary sprig.
This is really good with gnocchi, and if you come to my class in Italy I’ll show you how to make them!
I have added another week, June 10th to the 17th at Villa Giaggioli, just twenty minutes from Florence. Write me for details. Some nights we’ll be cooking in the kitchen, and some nights, we will be cooking under the stars.

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