Contributor: Carmine SeSanctis

Grandma's Sunday Sauce
The Story
I grew up in Downtown Brooklyn near the Brooklyn Navy Yard and I was a teenager in the late 50’s. I think most of my close friends experienced the same thing on Sunday’s as most were of Italian heritage. Sunday’s were always the same and I usually followed the same routine, I would meet my friends for 12 o'clock mass and then "hang out" with them including the girls who now joined us on the corner until about 2pm. I would stop at the bread store and bring home a couple of loaves of hot Italian bread. We lived on the first floor of an 8 family apartment building.  When I walked into the building you could smell my mom's sauce cooking as soon as you entered the building. There were eight families in the building, some were Irish and at least one German but no one else made sauce every Sunday.  We always called it SAUCE never gravy. I‘ve heard that on the other side of the river in Jersey it was called gravy. We used gravy for roast beef and meatloaf. 

My mother’s name was Marie and her family was from Naples. On Sunday she always made a large pot of sauce. It was used again on Tuesday for leftovers and again possibly on Thursday for another type of meal, possibly eggplant parmagina or veal and peppers... My mom always started her sauce the same way and very early in the morning. She would brown garlic and a little onion in olive oil and when it was cooked she would remove this so it wouldn't burn. Then she would add the meat to the oil including several pieces of sausage, a couple of hot and a few sweet then a nice piece of beef (usually chuck) and a piece of pork. She would also make her own beef braciole, neatly tied and filled with fresh parsley and a little garlic. She would also make a few meatballs with fresh ground beef and pork. She browned these before she put them into the sauce. Once all of the meat was browned she would put it all back in the large pot with the garlic and onions and start the sauce. She always used Italian canned tomatoes. She liked the brand Luigi Vitalli or Francesco Rinaldi. She would hand squeeze the tomatoes using about 6 to 8 cans depending on how much she wanted to make for the week. She would add one small can of tomato paste for every two large cans of tomatoes. Then she would  let the sauce simmer for about four hours allowing all of the meat to cook thoroughly so it would literally fall apart when it was done. When it was almost done she would add fresh basil and salt to taste. She never added sugar or oregano and I still believe her sauce was “The Best”. She recently passed away but writing this really brought back memories of her sauce and what Sundays were all about growing up.

So Here it is, My Mom Marie's Sunday Sauce!

1/2  cup virgin olive oil
1/2  head of garlic
1  small onion
1/2lb beef short ribs  -  or a 1lb piece of chuck beef
1  package of spare ribs ( 1/2 to 3/4 lb)
4  pork or beef braciola
3  large cans (32oz) of Italian Plum Tomatos
2  small cans tomato paste
1  teaspoon fresk italian parsley
1  teaspoon fresh basilsalt & pepper
Salt & pepper
Pecorino Romano Cheese
  1. Brown all the meat in olive oil and remove when done
  2. brown garlic and onions and add back the meat
  3. While meat is browning, hand squeeze the tomatos in a large bowl or Pulse Blend in a blender
  4. Add tomatos and paste to meat.  Stir and add 1/2 glass of water to sauce.  (you might need to add more as it cooks)
  5. Add salt & pepper to taste
  6. add the parsley
  7. Cook for about 4 hours
  8. add basil when sauce is almost done.
Serve with any kind of past in a large bowl.   Serve the meat as the second course.  Add a nice salad and some nikce crusty Italian Bread and a nice red wine..


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