On the post below this one, I mention I was making meatloaf. I generally use Paul Prudomme's recipe for meatloaf. It's a good recipe that I first had tasted at my friend Ron's house many years ago. Last summer, Bill, http://billsmagicalmysterytour.blogspot.com/ , gave me a family cookbook. Bill is Italian and from the range of Northern MN. Anyway, I thought of the cookbook the other day and decided to see if there were any family recipes for meatloaf that might be different that I could try. I didn't find any meatloaf recipes, but I found 11 recipes for something called "sugo." WTF? Now, FWK isn't a cooking expert and I certainly have not cooked everything, but, I've generally heard of most things. Especially of something that obviously was very popular in a region of MN that I've lived reasonably close to. The basic premise of all the recipes was to brown assorted meats (beef chunks, country pork ribs, sausage), add tomato paste, tomato sauce, an onion, garlic, salt and pepper, red wine, parsley, and cook for several hours. Right up my alley! I called Bill and asked him which recipe I should use. Without missing a beat, he said, Gina's (his sister) recipe is closest to the family recipe, but to increase the wine from 1/2 cup to a full cup, add 1 Tbl of sugar, and to use whole cloves studded in and onion instead of ground cloves. All from memory, he knew what his sister did different then his dad! He also said that the secret ingredient for the wine is Carlo Rossi's Paisano red wine.
The secret ingredient.
What it comes down to, sugo is a very flavorful meat red sauce that you pour over pasta. Some Italians call it "gravy." After browning the meats and adding the other ingredients, I cooked it slowly for 5 hours. I then put it outside in 5 degree weather and cooled it down completely. Then I brought it back up to serving temperature. The flavor was wonderful! I did add sweet basil to the recipe and served it with grated parmesan. Here is the recipe I made. Thanks to Gina and Bill for their advice!
2 lbs chuck roast, cut into chunks
3-4 country style ribs (with bone)
4 Italian sausages (cut into 1" chunks)
1 med sized onion, cut in 1/2, studded with 10 whole cloves
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced or chopped
1 Tbl Salt
1 Tbl Pepper
1 Tbl Sugar
1 cup Paisano red wine
2-12 oz cans of tomato paste
4-12 oz cans of water
1-29 oz can tomato sauce
14 oz chicken broth (canned or fresh)
1/2 teasp allspice
1 handful chopped fine fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbl sweet basil
2 bay leaves
Brown meats in oil, cooking for about 1/2 hour on medium low heat. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Cook 5 min. Add wine and cook for 15 minutes. Add tomato paste, sauce, water, broth, allspice, parsley, basil, and bay leaves, and 2 halves of the onion (with studded cloves). Bring to a boil, turn heat down to low so the sauce is at a simmer for 4+ hours, partially covered. Stir occasionally.
I cooked a 1 lb bag of pasta, but I think 1 1/2 lbs would be better. I had quite a bit more sauce then pasta using only 1 lb. Traditionally it would be poured over spaghetti, but I used rotini. I served it in large bowls with spoons rather then forks. I grated fresh parmesan over the top of each serving. Another thing I did after the sugo was cooked was to spoon out the country style ribs, remove the bones, and shred the meat. I put the shredded meat back into the sugo. I did come across a couple bones that had fallen off the pork while eating. I prefer to cook sauces like this with bones, because of the flavor they add. I couldn't find a beef roast with a bone in it. Variations in the cookbook also had chicken pieces included. I don't think you can mess this recipe up. As one person said in the cookbook, "It's never sugo, unless it's yours!"