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How to make meat sauce: a traditional Italian Sunday lunch

italian sauce with meatIf you look at Italy on a map you immediately realize how small it is. That’s why I often ask myself: how it’s possible that in such a small country you can find hundreds of different ingredients and tens of different traditions. Let’s talk for example of the Sunday lunch: that’s a super classic, something that assemble the entire family together but it’s not the same lunch in every house. In some houses, especially in the centre of Italy, spying on the Sunday table you will find lasagne, in other houses you will find pasta al forno (baked pasta) with almost one hundreds different ingredients. In the northern part of Italy polenta with meat or agnolotti (that is a particular kind of ravioli) with broth… In southern Italy, together with pasta al forno, it’s pretty common cook pasta with sugo di carne (meat sauce). I’m from the northern part of Italy, but trust me if I say that, one you’ve learned how to cook this particular sauce, you will never forget it and you will cook it quite every week. The point is not only that is incredibly good, but it’s super easy to do and the most important ingredient is time. Let me explain: to make this sauce you will need around 3 hours and a half but you need to work or actively cooking just for less than half an hour. For the other 3 hours you can watch tv, read a book, or whatever you like to do: the magic is done by low flame and the fat of the meat that slowly melt till create a magical fusion with sauce. I do it with different kind of meat (you can use pork, veal, lamb, even chicken drumsticks, the important thing is to chose a kind that has some fat) almost once a week: that’s because it’s a great way to flavor pasta (and we are Italian so we eat a lot of pasta!) and it’s a complete dish that doesn’t require too much work. Just try it and let me know! Buon appetito!

italian sauce with meat


– 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

– 1 onion finely chopped

– 1 carrot finely chopped (optional)

– 1 celery stem finely chopped (optional)

– 1 kg of meat of your choice (lamb or pork ribs, veal or pork stew, chicken drumsticks..)

– 1/2 glass of white wine

– 2 bottle of italian tomato sauce (I use Cirio Passata Rustica)

– 1/2 glass of water

– salt

Pour 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large pan, add onion, carrot and celery finely chopped. Let them fry lightly at low flame until they soften. Add meat and raise the fame to maximum to brown well. Add a bit of salt: this is done to help meat to lose its liquid. When the meat is well coloured deglazed with the wine and allow to evaporate. Now it’s the right moment to add the tomato sauce: pour it in the pan, add water, mix well and cover. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat (I have an electrical stove and I use n. 4). Now forget the sauce, the pan and do what you like for almost 3 hours. Just check it every hour or so to control that no more water is needed. Taste it (that’s the best part!), adjust with salt and….buon appetito!

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