My husband makes one of the best meat sauces I’ve ever had.  (Sorry, Mom!)  He was feeling a bit nostalgic today for his parents, their cooking, and his hometown, so he decided to cook the ragu his mom taught him how to make.  He notes that each region/town/family makes their ragu a bit different.  He and his family are from Napoli and this is the way they made it – very simply, with San Marzano tomatoes.  You don’t need to add carrots or sugar to the tomatoes and they produce a flavorful, robust sauce.  One last note: while we have made our own pork braccioles in the past, these were purchased at Turco’s in Yorktown Heights.


Ingredients... and some ESPN football coverage!



4 28-oz cans of San Marzano peeled tomatoes

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

olive oil

beef for gravy

2 pork braccioles

dry Italian white wine

rind from a piece of Parmesan cheese



Pass the 4 cans of tomatoes through a food mill into a large bowl or pot.  Set aside.

San Marzano tomatoes
Pass the canned tomatoes through a food mill to remove seeds

In a large pot, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Heat oil, then add onions.  Cook until tender, about 5 minutes, over medium heat.

Finely chopped onion
Add chopped onions to hot olive oil

Slice beef into 3/4″ thick cuts.  Add beef and braccioles to the pot.  Brown evenly on all sides.

Beef and pork braccioles
Add to pot
Brown meat on all sides

Remove meat from pot, transfer for a dish, and deglaze the pot with about 1/2 cup of white wine.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape any pieces of meat stuck to the bottom of the pan.   Add the meat back to the pot and let wine reduce for about 5 minutes until it’s slightly thickened, stirring occasionally to make sure the meat does not stick to the pan.

Remove meat from pot
Add dry Italian white wine
Deglaze pot
Add meat back to the pot

Add the strained tomatoes and the Parmesan rind to the pot with the meat, onions and wine.  Add sea salt to taste.   Raise stove to high heat and bring to a boil.  Then, reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.

Add strained tomatoes
Add the Parmesan rind (optional)
Add sea salt to taste

Remove meat from pot, and continue to cook sauce for another hour (or to desired thickness).  Add some fresh basil when the sauce is done cooking, and remove the Parmesan rind.

Remove meat
Sauce is simmering
Add basil when sauce is cooked

Yields 2 quarts of sauce that can be frozen or refrigerated.  Buon Appetito!



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