Friday, November 6, 2009

A New Tradition

Last night we had an excellent dinner featuring an old family recipe as well as some new ideas.

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The central piece of the meal was my grandfather’s recipe for pasta sauce, or “gravy” as the Italians call it.  There are a few keys to this sauce:

  • Start with beef neckbones, or whatever bones your favorite butcher has on-hand
  • Simmer for as long as possible, at least three hours … if you can make the sauce the day before serving and then let it sit in the fridge overnight, even better
  • No stirring after you add the spices.  There is some dissention within the family about this point, but my grandfather’s rule was always that you sprinkle the spices on top and then “let them percolate.”  You can and should scrape the sides of the pot periodically, to keep things from sticking.  But don’t stir!

The finished product:


As I said the other day, this sauce was served over your choice of Zone pasta or fresh local pasta.  I also made a fresh loaf of bread in my bread machine.  It was a bit salty.  Oops.


Courtenay Brown once again assembled an excellent salad.


A last-minute addition to our feast was this excellent Italian-seasoned tri-tip that I got from Bill the Butcher.  We broiled it fat-side-up for 10-12 minutes, then flipped it over and baked it at 400 degrees for another 5-7 minutes.  We removed the meat for a moment, poured some red wine over it, then threw it back into the oven to make its own “reduction.”  We sort of forgot about the meat for a little while after that, as we finished cooking the other courses, but the tri-tip still came out of the oven mostly medium.

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For dessert we had a small pile of strawberries with vanilla yogurt.  The berries were surprisingly tasty for being out-of-season.

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