Sunday Gravy and Macaroni (Spaghetti, Really)
This recipe was inspired by Rachael’s Grandpa Emmanuel. For a complete meal, serve with Romaine Hearts with Red Pepper Vinaigrette.
Italian-Americans refer to red spaghetti sauce as gravy, especially when it’s tomato sauce studded with meatballs, sausage or other meats. –RR
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for both meats and sauce
- 3 thin-cut pork loin chops (1/2-inch thick), cut in half
- Salt and pepper
- 2 each sweet and hot Italian sausage links
- 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, for moderate to spicy marinara
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped and divided
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14 ounces)
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (a couple of handfuls of leaves), chopped
- Several leaves fresh basil (a handful), torn or chopped
- 1 pound meatloaf mix (ground beef, pork and veal combined), from butcher counter
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (2 handfuls), plus extra for tossing with pasta and to pass at the table
- 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs (3 handfuls)
- 1 loaf crusty Italian bread, for serving
Heat water for pasta to a boil. Salt and cook pasta to al dente, about 7-8 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.
Heat a deep skillet or medium, heavy bottomed saucepot over medium-high heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Halve the sausages. Add 1 tablespoon of EVOO, one turn of the pan, to the skillet or pot. Add chops and brown for 2 minutes on each side, then remove. Add another tablespoon of EVOO, one turn of the pan, and the sausages. Brown sausages for 2 minutes on each side and transfer to plate with pork.
Add pepper flakes, three cloves chopped garlic and onion to the pot and sauté for about a minute. Add the broth to the pan and scrape up drippings. Add tomatoes and herbs and bring sauce to a bubble. Add meats back to the pot and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer sauce until ready to serve, 12-15 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine the meatloaf mix, egg, remaining two cloves chopped garlic, 1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper and roll into balls, 1 1/2-2 inches in diameter. Place the balls on nonstick cookie sheet. Roast the meatballs for 10 minutes, then slide into the skillet or saucepot of Sunday sauce and turn off the oven. Add bread to oven to crisp crust.
To serve, place pork, sausages and meatballs on a serving dish. Pour half of the sauce into a serving dish to ladle over the pasta and meats at the table. Toss the cooked spaghetti with the remaining sauce in the saucepot, adding a few handfuls of grated cheese to the pot as you toss it. Transfer pasta to a serving dish.