In an Italian-American household in Brooklyn, NY, the Sunday maccheroni with “meat in the gravy” was sacred. Unfortunately, as we have grown older and away from our roots, the Sunday tradition has evolved into a rare event. It is, however, still sacred and very much welcome on those special occasions when we make it – typically holidays or birthdays. I made this one for my son’s 21st birthday.
The “gravy” is not particularly difficult to make. The key, as with most good dishes, is using top quality ingredients. Here a tomato sauce is simmered slowly over a full day with a variety of meats – in this case, sweet Italian sausage, pork and beef braciole and a nice chunk of bone-in pork shank. I have made my own bracioles in the past, but for this I had the chance to buy them and the sausages from one of our all-time favorite makers – Esposito’s Pork Store on Court Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
The meat was browned in olive oil along with sliced garlic and chopped onions. DOP San Marzano tomatoes were added along with basil and the sauce was left to simmer for almost 24 hours. The pasta (Martelli maccheroni) with the gravy was served as the primo piatto with some delicious fresh sheep’s milk ricotta from Dancing Ewe Farm and the meat was the secondo. This was good enough that each of my sons wants me to make it for their birthday dinners.