Today, folks, we're going to do something very special. And no, not make barbecue. That's for another day, but SBN's image library only had this image for sauce, so we're gonna roll with it. HAH!
We're going to make a big-ass pot of meat sauce. Why? A lot of reasons. Rutgers is in Jersey and as everyone knows Jersey is entirely peopled by Italians.
It's pretty cathartic to cook. I'm starving and I'm pissed about Michigan losing last week and this scene is how we're gonna roll. I have a theory that Sonny got shot not because of a power play by the rest of the Five Families or any misbegotten idea of revenge, but because he interruped Clemenza when he was trying to teach Michael how to cook. Serves him right. Get your big stupid face out of my kitchen, James Caan. Go back to harassing Will Ferrell. Doofus doesn't know what the four major food groups are. No, marshmallows aren't in them, you boob.
So, we're gonna make some pasta sauce, and you're going to like it, otherwise you'll end up like poor Sonny over there.
Here's what you're gonna need:
- A big can of sun-roasted tomatoes. Crushed. Ideally San Marzano. You'll taste the difference.
- Peppers: one red, a few spicy
- A can of tomato paste
- About a pound of ground beef, or your choice of meatballs or sausage (if you go that route, refer to Clemenza's method above)
- One metric shit-ton of garlic, some oregano, maybe a little of this, a little of that. Season away, it's a sauce.
- Some red wine
- Brown sugar
- A head of broccoli
- Onions: one red, one white
- Olive oil - but we're making Italian. Did you really need to be told that one?
So we've got our ingredients. Now the fun begins. First, chop your onions into tiny little pieces. Yep, really tiny. Smaller than your pinky nail tiny. Next, throw 'em in some oil and saute them until they're caramelized. My advice: cook 'em for a few minutes than dump some red wine over them until they're transparent, soft, and are damn near mush. Don't be a wuss about how long you cook them. Unless you burn your own house down - we recommend against this - you cannot overcook your onions. It's just not possible. Don't char them. That'd be stupid.
While the onions are going - should take about 10 minutes - roast a red pepper. This is the fun part, because you get to play with fire. Do this by turning your burner up to max and then setting the pepper over it. Blacken the hell out of all of the skin. It'll be fun. And it's super fun to watch it burn because it is red and red is the worst of the colors. When it's done - and I mean thoroughly blackened- put it in a sealed plastic bag for about five minutes and then the skin will be very easily scrapable - you'll have a nice, pretty red pepper with the blackened skin gone. I don't know how it works because I'm not a friggin' wizard, ya get me? But it does, and roasted red pepper is DELICIOUS in saus. Duh.
Chop up your spicy pepper, your broccoli, and your roasted pepper really really really small too. If you like chunky saus, fine, don't, but why are you reading cooking instructions this in-depth if you're gonna go your own way anyway? Pff. By the way, I think broccoli adds a real nice sweetness to any sauces. And it's healthy, so you can have an extra beer. Go on. Papa Shash said so. (I just opened the last of my Oktoberfests).
Now that your veggies are all chopped up, it's time to brown the meat. I like cooking it a little in pan first to get some of that beefy flavor, but you don't have to. Brown it - or don't - and then toss it into a big soup pot. Add in your onions, your chopped veggies, your big can of tomatoes, your can of tomato paste, a dash of red wine (let's be honest, a big dash), your brown sugar, and anything else I forgot to tell you how to prepare and then let it sit for three full hours on your stove,covered, on low. Don't peek. But you're gonna start smelling some real good smells real soon. You'll thank me.
Fast forward three hours. What're you gonna use your sauce for? Tortellini? sure. Pasta? Fine. Bread? Different, but still fine. Repelling the invading Hunnic army? Not a good call. But this is a perfect night game sauce. Simmer it during the day (like I'm doing right now, actually) and then eat it during the evening games.
This serves roughly a dozen people if they're Lilliputians, and 6-8 people if they're normal hungry adults. Or just you, because you want food for a week. Nom nom nom.
And what should you wash it down with? It's not quite fall in some parts yet. It's damn near winter in others. But before we dive headlong into porter season and some of those maerzen are still on the shelves, there's a middle path, one that is wonderful and is Bells' Best Brown Ale. Yes, I know, Shorts' Good Humans is better. But right now, not much tastes better than a Bells'. Soon it'll be dark ale season. But hold tight. Go have a Bells'.
Until next week, Michigan Faithful: Cheers!