Tomato Meat Sauce

This is based on our family red sauce (recipe:, but is a slight variation with only the pork meat which gets ground into the sauce at the end.

  • 5 small cans tomato paste (I prefer Hunt’s)
  • 5 small cans tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 5 cups water (pour water from one can to the next to make sure you get all of the sauce and paste out of the cans)
  • Salt, pepper, dry parsley, oregano, basil, 2 bay leaves
  • 2 lbs pork meat (boneless country spare ribs, also called cushion meat)
  • 1 white onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (enough to fully cover the bottom of the sauce pot)

Put oil in the bottom of a large sauce pot, in the oil slowly and carefully (as to not burn or darken anything too much) brown all of the pork meat (cut into 2 inch chunks and seasoned with salt and pepper), the whole onion (carefully cut off the root and tip ends, peel the outer layer, but keep intact), the garlic (peel and cut into 2-3 pieces each). As each element has been browned, remove from the pot and set aside. The meat will not be fully cooked at this point, but you should build up a nice fond. Turn off the heat. The garlic should be browned and soft, not crisp and not burnt (this will ruin the flavor of the whole pot of sauce). The oil is now flavored and will impart wonderful taste to the tomato sauce.

Next whisk your tomato paste, sauce, water, wine and seasoning in a large bowl until it is a smooth consistency and when you stir it you can see the little flecks of seasonings. Carefully pour the sauce mixture into the sauce pot with the flavored oil. Turn the heat on low and with a wooden spoon, scrap the edges and bottom of the pot until all of the cooked on bits have been incorporated into the sauce. Let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes. Stirring every few minutes to ensure the sauce is not sticking and there are no spots burning on the bottom.

Next carefully add all of the browned meat (making note of how many pieces you have) and onion back into your pot. The garlic can be diced up and added to the sauce. Carefully simmer the sauce on a very low heat, just high enough to see a light simmer on the surface of the sauce. You can cover with the lid askew to let the steam escape. Continue to carefully stir and check the bottom for any sticking and burning for next hour or two. Check the sauce for flavor and add salt if needed, a little at a time. When the pork meat is very tender the sauce is done. Allow to cool a bit and settle off heat. If there is oil pooled on the top, you can skim it off.

Cool the sauce overnight in the fridge. The next morning pick out all of the meat chunks and the onion. Cut into small pieces if need be. Pass the meat and onion through a meat grinder (we prefer the metal Kitchen Aid attachment, set to the smallest grind plate). Add all of the ground cooked meat and onion back to the sauce and separate into about 3-4 portions in quart containers. These can be frozen for future pasta meals or used in lasagna, manicotti, pizza, etc.

Serve with the pasta of your choice, garlic bread and salad, top with parmesan or pecorino.


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