Did someone make you feel extra special on Thursday? I was greeted with a bouquet of flowers, a heart-shaped box of chocolates, and a big smile when I got home from work that day. I don't need no over-the-top jewelry or mass-load of helium-induced mylar or a big-as-a-person stuffed bear. Ten bucks is all it takes and I'm a happy girl. (ps I was also informed that Friday was something along the lines of National Lonely Singles Eat-Your-Heart-Out on Discounted Candy Day. Oh but I browsed those clearance candy racks too, as always!).
Our meal that night consisted of this sauce, made with love from my Grandma Audrey's little kitchen and now made with love from mine.
Growing up she was sure to visit us frequently, making the 12-hour trek from Minnesota to Oklahoma with a big batch of marinara in tow. She'd unload the big black suitcase from her trunk and two things were sure to follow: a variety pack of mini cereal boxes (oh my grandmahowiloveyou...despite the time I angrily threw your bra over the stairs and the sneaky tickling I did atop your curly hair while your lounged in the family room in the evening. No there wasn't a draft in there. It was me.) and a large white bucket of sweet Italian sausage-filled red sauce. I then eagerly awaited the night that sauce was to be warmed on the stove and sure to fill our tummies during her week-long stay.
So now it was my turn to make it...and spread a little of my (and Grandma's) love.
Grandma Audrey's Spaghetti Sauce
Makes a large batch (10 servings?)- just make a whole batch and freeze the leftovers. Trust me.
1 pound sweet Italian sausage links*
1 pound country-style ribs (or pork neck bones, if you prefer)*
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste
6 ounces water
6 ounces dry red wine
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Cut the sausages and ribs in 2-3 inch lengths. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy pan or Dutch oven and brown the sausages on all sides over medium heat. Remove to a bowl and brown the ribs or neck bones. Transfer to bowl with the sausages. This will take about 10 minutes.
After removing the sausages and ribs, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan (don't drain the juices from the meat!). Saute the onion and garlic until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add the whole tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir well. Fill the tomato paste can halfway up with water (6 ounces), stirring to release any paste left on the bottom and sides. Add to the sauce, and add half a can or more (6 ounces) of dry red wine.
Add parsley, basil, oregano, salt, sugar, pepper and red pepper. Mix well and return the browned meat and any juices to the pan.
Bring the sauce to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 4 hours, stirring occasionally, being careful the sauce does not burn on the bottom of the pan. The long cooking time not only develops the flavor but also breaks up the ribs. Toward the end of cooking time, taste and adjust the seasonings and add a bit more wine or water if the sauce is too thick. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles.
*The meat is a MUST. It's what makes this sauce so amazing. Do it.
Adapted from Grandma Audrey (and Uncle Frank!)