This recipe was handed down to me by my dear mother, who passed away at the age of 84 in January of 2013. Mamma Bracco was an AMAZING cook. Being from northern Italy, I grew up eating sauces that were more "brown" instead of red. My mom never made lasagna or manicotti or stuffed shells, but what she did make was unique and delicious. She was given this recipe by a relative while living in Genoa, Italy (as a young woman in her 20's). Our family always looked forward to nights when mom made her "sugo" (which actually translates to "gravy" in Italian). The entire neighborhood would enjoy the wonderful aroma that came from mom's kitchen when she made her "sugo" and we would all walk away from the dinner table with very FULL, HAPPY bellies!! Enjoy!!
- 2 Tbsp good olive oil
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 lbs good stew meat
- 2 golden delicious apples; peeled & cut into small cubes
- 2 carrots; finely chopped
- 2 medium onions; finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic; finely chopped
- 1 medium sprig of fresh Rosemary, basil, oregano and about a Tbsp of whole cloves; all secured in a cheesecloth
- 1 beef bouillon
- 1/2 cup Sherry cooking wine
- 2 15-ounce can Del Monte Tomato Sauce, plus 1 15-ounce can's worth of water
- ground cinnamon and ground allspice; just a dash of each
- freshly-ground nutmeg; just a dash
- 1 tsp Wicked Good Blends "Tuscan Bistro" spice blend*
- 4 medium potatoes; peeled, washed and halved
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 lb box Pasta; cooked according to package directions for al dente
- Freshly-grated Parmigiano cheese; if desired
- Finely chop carrots, onion and garlic in a food processor.
- Add oil, butter, cubed apples, carrots, onion, garlic, beef bouillon and herbs in cheesecloth into a large pot or dutch oven.
- Dry each piece of stew meat with a paper towel and add to pot.
- Turn on heat and cook for about an hour, partially covered, over medium heat, stirring about every 15 to 20 minutes.
- Continue to cook another 15-20 minutes, uncovered, and stirring frequently.
- Add Sherry cooking wine and cook, partially covered, for another 20 minutes (or until wine has evaporated).
- Add 2 cans of Tomato Sauce and 1 can of water. Stir.
- Add cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and Tuscan Bistro spice blend. Stir.
- Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes.
- Add potatoes and continue to cook, LOW and SLOW, for another hour or two, stirring frequently.
- Add salt & pepper to taste.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Place cooked pasta in a pasta bowl and add a few spoonfuls of the "sugo", making sure you get some chunks of meat and potatoes in every spoonful.
- Sprinkle some freshly-grated Parmigiano cheese on top, if desired.
Note: the "sugo" should be thick, not runny. They key to this dish is that you cook it for a long time on very low heat and stir frequently. This will thicken the sauce and cook the stew meat so that it is tender and melts in your mouth! Make sure you stir GENTLY after you have added the potatoes. Once the potatoes begin to break up, they are done and the "sugo" is pretty much done, too.
* I recently had the pleasure of meeting the makers of Wicked Good Spice Blends. I decided to use about a teaspoon of their Tuscan Bistro spice blend in this recipe. It added a delicious and aromatic flavor to the "sugo". I will definitely always add Tuscan Bistro spice blend in this recipe from now on!!