I’m mostly posting this recipe because my mother’s been begging for it…
And I’m a slacker….
And I have good intentions… I really do!
But then I’ve been getting home from work exhausted, force myself out for a run, make dinner and crash!
So, sorry mom! I’ll do better this time. I promise! 🙂
I made this with her when she came for a visit for 24 hours back in November. She was on a quick layover on her way out of the country to visit my sister, and we had to savor every minute we could get. I, unfortunately, couldn’t get off work, so we really only had the evening together. I wanted to make it count – so of course the thing that I wanted to do together was cook. I wanted to get our hands together in the kitchen, one of the places that means the most to me, in order to enjoy every minute with her. I hadn’t seen her since my trip to Italy, and the best way to tell some of the stories of the things we did is not over the phone, but in the reliving of what we did. The sweetness of the tomatoes and licorice smell of the basil brought me right back to the middle of Florence and the Centrale Market. It was the best way to let her know exactly what happened on the trip and for her to even experience a tiny piece of it herself – at least from my perspective.
That night, we made the meal together, talked and laughed, and moved out to the back patio with Archie. He made us a fire in my fire pit, and we sat at my little vintage patio table, savoring each bite, knowing we only had a little bit of time.
The meat sauce itself is so simple – using fresh ingredients from the Centrale Market when we were in the class in Italy. And even though I don’t have a Centrale Market close by, I have tried to preserve the freshness as much as I can – basil from my back yard, meat from the local butcher, all adding up to make such tastiness, and causing there to be even more memories surrounding my yummy little Italian meat sauce.
P.S. – I apologize for the pictures of the final meat sauce not being so great – by the time the meal finished cooking it Italy, Jen and I were supposed to be on a train 10 blocks away in 20 minutes (plus meeting up with our husbands!). I’ll work on getting a better picture. 🙂
P.P.S. – The fresh pasta (made by hand!!!) recipe to come shortly. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is. No pasta roller needed!
Italian Meat Sauce (By: Chef Giovanni, Florence Italy) – serves 6
6 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 cloves garlic
1 red onion
1 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 lb good quality ground beef
1 lb Italian pork sausage, casings removed (I used the sweet kind since there was already a kick from the chili pepper)
2 cups red wine
1 lb. can whole, peeled tomatoes
1-2 whole basil leaves per serving (approximately 6-12 leaves)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1. Chop onion into small diced pieces and mince garlic
2. Place olive oil in pan and heat up. Place the onion, garlic and chili flakes into the heated oil and continue cooking until caramelized.
3. Place the pork sausage and ground beef into pan. Mash with a fork until all pieces are broken down, and meat is cooked through. DO NOT DRAIN!! I know.. weird, but don’t do it.
Fresh from the butcher!
4. Add the 2 cups wine (plus another little drizzle if you like the taste 😉 ), and allow to reduce by half – about 10-15 minutes depending on how high your heat works.
5. Drain juice of tomatoes into the pan and crush the whole tomatoes with your hand, creating pieces of smaller tomatoes. You can use a fork to make any a little smaller if they are still too big. Place basil in pot. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes. Serve with fresh, warm, homemade pasta!