My red sauce “aha moment”
I decided to make Brasciole for our New Year’s Eve fancy dinner and I realized I had some leftover ham in the fridge from the day before. I didn’t want to throw it out, but I had never used ham in brasciole. So what do you think I did? I called Ms Rachael Ray and asked her what she would do. She suggested using it and said really any salty pork would work just fine. So I pounded out the beef and filled it with chopped ham, breadcrumbs, grated Pecorino Romano, chopped onion, garlic and parsley and a little chopped hard boiled eggs. Rolled it up and browned it in a pan.
Now normally you would braise a brasciole in the ove, in my experience. That means, once it is browned, you put it in an oven-safe covered pot (I used Rachael’s Oval Cast Iron Pot-see image) with a few inches of tomato sauce and cook it at 350F for an hour or so. But here’s what I did and this led to my “sauce aha moment.” I made a real sauce on the stove first. When I say real sauce, I mean I did not open a can of sauce or make a marinara. I made a real, honest to goodness meat sauce, with meatballs and ribs, just like my momma used to make.
Here’s Rachael’s recipe for this kind of sauce. This sauce is a meal in itself with spaghetti. So I took half of it and put it away for later. I took the other half and added a cup of red wine and added it to the pot with the brasciole. I then put the brasciole in the oven, covered, and let it simmer in there at 250F, not 350F, for HOURS. I’m talking maybe 5 hours. By the time that baby came out of the oven, the ribs and the meatballs that were left in there were falling apart they were so tender, that it almost made this really silky smooth, rich tasting chunky sauce. They just kind of melted into the sauce to make something almost more like a soup. I cooked up a big pot of rigatoni, tossed it with this rich sauce and served the brasciole on a separate plate. It was so insanely good, I don’t even think I could do it again. It was just one of those things…