first and foremost let me apologize - i know i usually take terrible photos, but the lighting at tex's apartment really makes my typically sub-par photos absolutely abysmal. i swear these were all taken mid-day, which should be ideal natural light (right? i mean i have no idea actually but i'm kind of assuming here). instead they are all shadows and awful coloring. i promise all the meat was normal colored and the tomatoes were not in fact radioactive. since i basically ate this for most of my remaining meals in texas it only makes sense that this week's what i ate wednesday post would be all about the sauce. per usual, thanks for hosting jenn!
now - on to the good stuff. for a long time, tex has been telling me about this spaghetti sauce his dad makes. it's based on a recipe from an old family friend and every couple months he makes a giant batch that tex (if he's lucky) gets to take a few servings of. these servings are then demolished in a few days and the sad waiting period between sauce makings begins again. since i love cooking and trying new things, i'd wanted to make this sauce since i started hearing about it and tex was totally in support of this. i was really nervous when i started...i'd never really made meatballs before (a few turkey recipes but never legit meatballs), i'd never made homemade sauce, i'd hardly ever tried to replicate old family recipes...i did not want to disappoint tex's discerning palate. i'm not going to share the entire recipe because i think it's one of those if i tell you i've got to kill you type scenarios, but i'm going to take you through the process. if you do not care at all, feel free to skip the post. if you'd like more recipe details shoot me an email and i might be able to hook you up.
i picked up the ingredients friday during the day and got to work on the sauce sunday around 1:00. for about 35 minutes i used the shittiest can opener known to man to open up all of the tomato sauce, tomato puree and crushed tomato cans. this was the first upper body workout i've done in over a week and let me tell you - my muscles have been sorely depleted.
next, i mixed up the meatballs. these are pretty standard - a mix of ground beef and ground pork with italian seasoning, a couple of eggs and some italian seasoned breadcrumbs. i also added a bit of extra garlic powder and some salt and pepper. i set them to the side and got to work on the base of the sauce.
into the giant pot went all of the crushed tomatoes and half of the herb mixture (mostly garlic salt, italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and fresh garlic). this started to heat up while i cooked the italian sausage and mushrooms. the mushrooms were sauteed in wine and garlic powder and the italian sausage in olive oil. once the sausage was cooked through i sliced it up and added it into the sauce with the mushrooms and a heaping glass of pinot noir. the wine is the key to this sauce. there's a lot of it.
let me pause to say that never do i appreciate my own kitchen and my gadgetry more than when i am trying to cook at tex's place. i asked if he had a big pot for the sauce and obviously the answer was no so i bought one at target. i also bought a long handled wooden spoon because i wasn't sure if there was one at his place. i did not however think to buy a spatula. when i asked tex if he had one he said he didn't think so and i searched around and found this tool:
what in the entire hell is this? i have no idea. i used it to scrape all the tomatoes out of their cans but good lord this is not a good tool for cooking. that boy needs some kitchen shit.
at this point i cooked the meatballs until they were barely pink, put them in the sauce with more wine and then began a routine of adding water and wine every hour or so while stirring the pot frequently to make sure it didn't stick to the bottom of the pan. the smell started to get pretty enticing...enticing enough that tex had to sneak in and check out what was going on.
after five or so hours of simmering, adding wine, stirring, praying and hoping it would be good the sauce was ready. i roasted a spaghetti squash for myself and tex cooked himself some rigatoni and we set to feasting. this sauce was really delicious - definitely not what i'm used to since what i'm used to is classico from the jar sauce, but totally worth it. it wasn't really that intense a process besides the first hour or so when the meat was cooking and i'm going to try to make it more regularly so i can really perfect it. i think it was good but tex's dad is getting a sample of it later this week and that'll be the true test. knowing him, he'll lie to preserve my feelings and tell me it's good no matter what. either way, i'm glad i experimented with it and leaving texas was even harder than usual because i had to leave gallons of this stuff behind.
did you cook anything intense this week?