Between my husband and I we have a lot of different backgrounds in our heritage, but Italian isn't one of them. I DID, however, make a point of spending a ton of time with a 1st and 2nd generation Italian-American family during my highschool and college years. And, during this time, I learned how to make The Sunday Sauce. I felt incredibly honored and could barely believe I was being taught step by step at their kitchen table, as Grandma and Mom were fighting over whether oregano belongs in the recipe (this fight was a weekly occurence, by the way).
So, for years I made this sauce exactly the way they taught me. Step by step. Then, a few years ago when my corn intolerance was at it's worst, I become sensitive to the heavy use of pork (corn fed) in the recipe. I was SO SAD! So, I decided to make "Robyn Sunday Sauce", with all the flavor and none of the unpleasant side effects. LOL!
Also, if you ever want to start up a conversation with your butcher and have them REALLY appreciate you as a customer, start adding things like beef marrow and soup bones to your regular rotation. They're super-cheap, make soup/stew/ and sauce taste amazing, and are really good for you minerally speaking.
Sauce takes about 5 hours to cook if done right, so you'll want to start around 11am if you want to be sure of an amazing dinner at around 4:30 or 5pm (I have little kids, remember?).
2 large cans crushed tomato (28 oz/749grams)
1 can tomato paste (6oz/170grams)
1 beef marrow bone
1 heaping palmful dried basil (less if it's freshly dried from the garden)
1 can (4oz/113grams) sliced mushrooms(or sliced fresh, if you desire)
1 medium-sized head (ENTIRE HEAD) fresh garlic, peeled and crushed
I have made this two ways: In a large saucepot on the stove, and in a crockpot. Both work great, IF you have a reliable range. Sauce tends to burn on the stovetop if the temperature isn't COMPLETELY reliable. And so to avoid the hassle and heartbreak of burnt sauce, I've been using a crockpot lately.
So, in a crockpot combine all ingredients and stir well. Cook on medium for about 3 hours. Stir again and turn it down to the low setting for the remainder of the cook time (about 2 more hours, or until your ready to serve).
At the 4 hour mark, turn on some Pavarati, crack open a bottle of your favorite red wine and start the meatballs!
Homemade Beef Meatballs
1 lb ground 90/10 beef
2 heels of bread from the freezer (I keep the heels of bread for this purpose)
Crack egg into beef, squish together, and set aside. Break bread up into chunks and moisten it with water (usually 1 or 2 tbsp). Squish the bread until it's soggy. Add bread to meat mixture. Squish with hands until you have the same consistency throughout. Roll into balls (I like them to be about "2 bite" sized). Add oil to skillet and brown meatballs on all sides. With no more than 30 minutes left before serving, remove the beef bone from the sauce and add the meatballs. If the meatballs are left in the sauce longer, they may begin to break apart.
Pour yourself another glass of wine.
Serve over whole grain pasta and with crusty bread or garlic toast!