Simple Spaghetti Sauce/ Sunday Gravy

A while ago I bought a big (100 fl oz) can of peeled, whole San Marzano tomatoes with the intention of making Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce with onion and butter. But you know what they say about ‘intentions’.

And then, a couple of days ago I was brainstorming an idea for a “Sunday sauce”, a pasta sauce that varies with the household making it. I was going to throw in some ground beef, a couple of pork chops, even a chicken breast, all of which transform a simple pasta sauce into a ‘gravy’. Then I realized that that pound of ground beef that I had in my freezer … wasn’t there after all. And I didn’t want to just use the chops and breast.

So I went to the market and ended up with five pounds of medium ground beef. At which point, I was faced with a variety of culinary possibilities. Three pounds were immediately portioned into freezer bags of one pound each and stored away for the future. I browned off the other two pounds and made a quick spicy beef burrito filling with half.

The second pound of cooked ground beef was drained well and frozen as well.

And now back to that can of tomatoes … I took out my dutch oven and sauteed a finely diced onion and a large clove of garlic slowly, over medium heat, in 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tbsp of unsalted butter until they were soft but not coloured at all. Then, I added about a teaspoon of dried basil (as I didn’t have any fresh), a half teaspoon of salt and a heaping teaspoon of sugar, and half the can of the tomatoes, crushed by hand and roughly seeded, along with their liquid. I had a bit of Parmesan cheese rind so I threw that in as well. After simmering the tomatoes, covered, for an hour …

… I pureed them with a hand blender and then simmered the sauce for another hour. Taste for seasoning. You might want to add another pinch or two of sugar if the sauce is too acidic.

The result was amazing.

Serve the sauce over pasta or polenta, as a dip for bread or pizza rolls/bites, dress a meatball sub or chicken parmigiana or use as an ingredient in a decadent pan of lasagna.


5 thoughts on “Simple Spaghetti Sauce/ Sunday Gravy

  1. My science guy hubby started making a DELICIOUS cacciatore a few years ago. When I tasted a version, I was certain he had put a couple of tablespoons of sugar, and I challenged him. No sugar, at all! Instead, he neutralized the acidity with baking soda! I’ve never turned back!
    Your sauce looks so delicious, perfect for a cold snowy day!

    1. Thank you. I’ve never used baking soda or heard of it being used. Something to look into.

      try to use as little sugar as possible … only a heaping teaspoonful for each batch of sauce (6 cups of canned tomatoes and sauce).

      1. I haven’t been as frugal since I’ve been at the folk’s, I’m afraid! Not that I make anything too too over the top, normally. It’s just kind of morphed during the past year into a lot of the more traditional Midwestern foods I’ve grown up with. Which really isn’t as frugal as it used to be decades ago. But I really do enjoy cooking for them and having victims for my (ooops, I mean an audience) for my experiements!!

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