Whenever I have this sauce cooking on the stove top I can't help but think of my grandparents. We would have this as a staple for every holiday and a spattering of Sunday dinners through out the year. I've made some changes to suit our tastes, but it is basically the same. I have left out Italian sausages and braciole because no one in my household likes the sausages, and braciole is just a pain to make. But when we have a full family gathering I will add those back in. Just brown them in the oven like the meatballs and pork ribs and add them to the sauce.
The original recipe calls for 1/2 the amount of sauce to the same amount of meat. But we like to double the sauce - keeping the meat the same - so that we can make lasagna or freeze the extra sauce.
Note: This recipe never had accurate measurements written down, so the estimates of how much are next to the ingredient in parentheses. Since the ingredients are not exact, taste, taste, taste, and taste again.
16 large cans Plum Tomatoes
2 large cans Tomato Puree
16 cloves Garlic
2-3 medium Onions
Parsley (.7 oz / 20 g / 3/4 cup)
Basil (.45 oz / 13 g / 1 cup)
Fennel Stalks (4 oz / 113 g / 2 cups)
Golden Raisins (2.6 oz / 75 g / 1/2 cup)
Pine Nuts (.6oz / 15 g / 1/8 cup)
EVOO, enough to cover bottom of sauce pots
3 Tablespoons White Sugar
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Country Style Pork Ribs
Optional: Italian Sausage & Braciole
2 3-gallon+ Heavy Bottom Sauce Pots
Place golden raisins in a dish with warm water until plump again.
*If you are making meatballs, pull the meat out of the fridge now.
Open all of the tomato cans and with an immersion blender, roughly blend the contents of the Plum Tomato cans.
Create the mirepoix/soffritto by adding garlic (peeled), onions (peeled and quartered), parsley, basil, fennel stalks (not the bulb), soaked golden raisins, and pine nuts to a large food processor. Blend until fine.
Coat the bottom of the sauce pots with EVOO and bring up to temperature. Divide the mirepoix/soffritto between the two pots and cook at a medium heat to cook, but not caramelize or burn it. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato puree to each pot, and sauté for 3-5 minutes until it is all incorporated.
Add in the cans of tomatoes, split equally between the two pots. And give it a good stir. Make sure to scrape the bottom and incorporate the mirepoix/soffritto into the tomatoes.
Add the sugar evenly between the two pots.
Bring to just below a boil and then drop to a simmer.
Sauce will cook for a total of 4-5 hours. Give it a good stir about ever 20 minutes or so, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pots.
Once the sauce is started. Make the Meatballs.
While sauce is cooking, brown the meat in a 425 F (215 C or 180 C Fan) oven. This takes about 30 minutes for each batch.
~1.5 hours before finishing add the browned Pork Ribs, Italian Sausage, and Braciole
~1 hour before finishing add the Meatballs
Once the meat is in, be careful while stirring so not to break the Meatballs.
Once finished serve with pasta, make a lasagna, dunk bread in it, freeze it for later... the possibilities are endless!