8 servings

Italian Tomato Sauce with Meat

Neapolitan Tomato Sauce with Meat

Southern Italy is known for the men and women of labor. The peasants, called contadini in Italy, has generated their own civilization. The essence of their way of life is hospitality.  The most ancient  and beloved virtue, is for one to open a door to strangers without asking their name, and to share with them bread no matter how scarce it was in their cupboard. This recipe of Italian tomato sauce with meat epitomizes the contadini.

I believe every home would have bread rising on their hearth, as well as this Italian tomato sauce with meat. The sauce would be the first meal and the meat the second the next day.  Nothing was wasted from the meal, they had a talent of creating it into another fabulous dish for a third days meal.   The stranger was always welcomed by cum panis, “with bread” this ancient saying meaning; sharing, breaking bread together. I envy this culture, I only wish we could trust again and share our homes as in days of old. Serve with a crusty bread to sop up the rich tomato sauce.

2 pounds beef rump or bottom round

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

3 ounces prosciutto, cut into tiny pieces

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup water

1 cup red wine

3½ pounds tomatoes, cored , peeled, and finely chopped, or use same amount canned

1 cup tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wipe the meat dry and season with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a deep, heavy pot. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the meat, and fry it over medium heat, turning it often until it is quite brown all over.  Add the finely chopped onions, and let it fry until it is transparent.  If it is cooking too fast, turn down the heat.  Add the prosciutto, gently fry it for about 5 minutes, add the garlic, and let it brown bit do not let it burn.

Slowly add the water, a few spoonful at a time, stirring the ingredients frequently, until all the water is incorporated and begin to look and smell like a deep flavored broth. Add the tomatoes, and stir again. Combine the red wine and tomato paste in a glass, stir it well to dissolve the tomato paste, and add it to the sauce.  Add the oregano, and salt and pepper to taste, and stir the sauce very well.  Let it barely simmer covered, for about 3 hours over low heat, stirring about every 20 minutes, until the meat is tender.

When the sauce is done, correct it for salt and pepper, and make any necessary additions.  It should be thick and highly flavored.  Remove the piece of meat, scraping off any sauce.  Put it aside to be eaten in the meal, or save it for another use. 

Ragu` napolitano is used primarily on a big stubby pasta.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow by Email