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Old 07-13-2020, 03:37 PM   #1
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Meat Sauce

Ok, this is an admittedly persnickety request for meat sauce for some homemade ravioli scheduled for the upcoming weekend. I have many recipes for meat sauce (Ragu/Bolognese) which include milk (not a fan) and white wine (prefer red). So with that said, here is my favorite tomato sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 ribs celery, finely diced
1 pinch salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

To this I want to add a pound of ground beef, some red wine (Chianti or Zinfandel), and some oregano.

So given the above constraints, any recipes you might recommend? Or do I just add what I want to add to my already FAV tomato sauce (aromatics and meat first, followed by the rest of it)?
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Old 07-13-2020, 04:15 PM   #2
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If you like that sauce, Scott, I say just add your browned meat to the pot when you get it all combined. Or brown the meat, remove it, and use the fats and juices to saute the veggies and aromatics, then add it back in.

I'm particularly fond of Himself's Mom's recipe, but that's because it's the version he taught to me when we were first married. And after that I've had to make it ever since...

Cooking Goddess' Family Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:01 PM   #3
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I like a meatier and less saucy bolognese. Consider using tomato paste instead of some or all of the whole peeled tomatoes. I've always thought of tomato paste as the secret ingredient to a delicious sauce because of the rich, intense tomato flavor. Then use the pasta water to thin it out before adding your slightly undercooked pasta too it. That gives the pasta a chance to finish cooking in the sauce and for the water to cook off so it isn't watery.

Just an idea! :)

Agreed on Cooking Goddess saying you should brown the meat first, remove it, cook your veggies, and then add it back in. That really helps get that meaty flavor!
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:04 PM   #4
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After browning the meat and veg, I would deglaze the pan with the red wine.
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:21 PM   #5
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DD made a sauce using whole, grape tomatoes, red and ripe. She slowly simmered them in enough water to barely cover them until they turned into a rich and flavorful sauce. The flavor was better than any canned, or bottle sauce that I have had. I seasoned the sauce with dried oregano, fresh basil, ground thyme. rosemary, diced onion, a couple cloves of fresh garlic, and a splash od red wine. The ground beef was browned and seasoned simply with salt and pepper, and added with chopped mushrooms. Crushed red pepper was then added carefully to balance the sauce.

Depending on how long the meat is simmered in the sauce will determine if the mixture is to be used as a pasta filling, or as a topping. Of course adding some fresh Parm never hurts a good red sauce.

The grape tomatoes made an exceptional sauce base, IMO better than San Marsano canned tomatoes/ Give this a try. You won't be disappointed.

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Old 07-14-2020, 08:20 AM   #6
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Yes do make your favorite sauce, do not mess with a good thing or it may not taste quite right the way you are used to. Additions sound legit.

Me, I like to add one or two sweet Italian sausages, skinned and cooked with the meat mix. Always add a few pizza pepper flakes. Don't always have sausage, so it's quite optional on my part. If using, then a tsp or so of fennel seeds, dry toasted go in the pot as well. Always use oregano and sometimes fresh basil leaves chiffonade to garnish. Surprisingly, a light tsp of dry sage, not packed ( this is not thanksgiving stuffing,) goes well, just enough to say what is that extra indefinable flavor. I use a tsp, not packed brown sugar-- My MIL's secret weapon, although she used a tablespooon, which may have been ok, she was making enough sauce for a dozen growing kids.

What is in the raviolis.?
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:35 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Whiskadoodle View Post
What is in the raviolis.?
I'm gonna do half with a conventional ricotta/parmesan/Italian parsley and half with mushroom/garlic/onion/cilantro.
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:41 AM   #8
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I use a hearty burgundy wine for cooking.
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:21 AM   #9
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Like Taxy, I deglaze the fond with the wine. I always put a bay leaf or two and a piece of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind in any long-cooking tomato-based sauce.
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Old 07-14-2020, 02:20 PM   #10
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If the above are ‘constraints’ then nothing to really add just maybe play around with portion sizing. If your not constrained all my sauces I like whole
peeled (which I break up by hand and remove stems) and even ratio of crushed. Also like to brown the tomato paste first a little in the pot for extra flavor. Personally I like sweet Italian sausage; usually do Premio. Meatballs made Italian style and ground up after frying and cooking in sauce for awhile.
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Old 07-16-2020, 05:41 AM   #11
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I'm more of a Sunday Gravy fan. The meats get served as one course and the meat infused gravy goes over the "macaroni".
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:25 AM   #12
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Scott, what do you use for italian herbs?

I usually use thyme, and fresh basil if I have it.
Like Whiskadoodle, there is fennel in sausage, which would bring out the fennel seed flavor.

I put in a good portion 2 t fennel seed for 2 quarts of sauce. I grind the seed. (and if I'm short on fennel, then less anise seed). It gives it a good aroma like someone's italian grandma came to visit and made us a meal that took all day to cook.
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:56 AM   #13
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I put in a good portion 2 t fennel seed for 2 quarts of sauce. I grind the seed. (and if I'm short on fennel, then less anise seed). It gives it a good aroma like someone's italian grandma came to visit and made us a meal that took all day to cook.
Nice! I love using whole fennel seeds in sauces (and just about anything honestly). I think they are pretty underrated. If you don’t grind them fresh, you can also bloom them first in a bit of olive oil to really bring out their flavor and also enhance the oil. And when they are whole they add a really nice crunch and burst of flavor. Keeping them whole also subdues the licorice flavor a bit versus grinding them fresh - if licorice isn’t your thing :)
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Old 07-17-2020, 11:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blissful View Post
Scott, what do you use for italian herbs?
Whatever I have on hand… usually basil, marjoram, thyme, oregano, sometimes rosemary.

Last night it occurred to me I could simply mod my crockpot chili recipe (one of my favorite meals) for a pretty good meat sauce. So tomorrow I will try these mods and see how it goes.
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