Cooking With Rants: RantSauce
Okay, first of all I know what the title is making all of you think and this is not what this post is about. That that would be pretty gross – you can’t cook with that anyway. This post is about one of my mostest favoritest food genres, and we’re going to channel our inner Italian here, ‘yo.
So I loves me something Italian to eat. Italian food is like it’s own food group to me, so bear with the enthusiasm. On this installment, we’ll review my basic meat sauce (again, focus – this is not about sex or porn). To get rolling quickly, I’ll cover my basic ingredients:
- Tomato sauce: 2 30-ounce cans plus 2 15-ounce cans.
- Tomato paste: 2 15-ounce cans, and have a couple 7oz cans available
- Crushed tomatos: 1 30-ounce can
- Black olives: 1 15-ounce can of large olives, each quartered
- Garlic: You will want an entire knot… all of it. Yes. Just do it. Mince finely.
- Onion: One entire onion, diced. If onion comes back on you, delete and use dry onion powder to taste.
- Ground chuck (beef): One pound
- Ground pork: One pound
- Mild, sweet Italian sausage: three to four links, casing/skin removed
- Green (Bell) Pepper: one, diced
- Zucchini: one, diced large (optional)
- Portobello Mushrooms: two ginormous fuckers, diced
- White wine: 1/2 bottle of a good dry you could stand to drink on it’s own, 1/2 bottle for the cook
And, of course, the essential spices, keeping in mind that fresh spice measures are double the dry spice ones (listed). All to taste but all mandatory:
Salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary, basil, crushed red pepper (1 tblsp), bay leaves (about 5), olive oil
5 – gallon pot, a big cast iron skillet, big-ass stirring spoon, flat-edged spatula, tasting spoon, glass (for the cook’s wine)
Before cooking anything, prepare the onion, garlic, pepper, zucchnini, olives and portobellos. I have both containers cooking at once and then combine ingredients, so put all meat, half of the garlic and all the onion in the skillet with oil, brown the meat and chop finely. Pour the large tomato ingredient cans in the pot with the green pepper and zucchini. Add the paste, the other half of the garlic, oregano, basil, olives, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, rosemary and some salt as well. Keep well-stirred. Consume a glass of wine yourself as you do this.
As the meat browns, add oregano, rosemary and basil to this mixture as well. When brown, add one cup of wine and reduce, then scoop into the sauce pot. Add more olive oil to the pan and heat, then cook the mushrooms until half-soft. Deglaze the pan with another cup of wine, reduce, and add this mix to the sauce pot. Stir thoroughly. Finish the glass of wine and pour another.
At this point, the sauce merely needs to be heated to a bubbling boil. The additional cans of sauce and paste, and your spice and wine should be used to “tune” the flavor of the sauce to your liking. Add small measures and let the heat distribute the flavor before adding more. Wine imparts a saltiness, so use care with the salt used to reduce the sweetness of the tomato ingredients. This step can require up to two more refills of your glass. Stirring is key here, and if you don’t have tiny red dots all over the stove, you’re fucking this up royally.
Once you master a basic sauce you’ll never buy the jarred shit again. Keep in mind this is crafted to your taste using the ingredients. This can be served over pasta of all types, rice, or baked meats as a garnish sauce… or eaten like stew if you’re a freak like me.