Yia Yia's Sunday Sauce

TOTAL TIME: 8 hr 20 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 8 hr 10 min
YIELD: 8 cups
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or more as needed
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Two 28-ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
  • 2 pounds meaty beef bones
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Directions

What makes this sauce so good is the long, slow cooking time, which allows it to develop a complex flavor. It shouldn't simmer; there should be just a bubble rising to the surface every now and then. Meaty beef bones add more depth and complexity. (If you have beef stock, you can add two cups of it in place of the beef bones.) This sauce is chunky with abundant tomato and sliced garlic. Depending on what you're using this for, it can be served as is (over a very thick hearty pasta or as part of a braising liquid). But if you were to use it for an angel hair or as a sauce for sauteed veal, you would probably want to puree it in a blender until it's uniformly smooth. This sauce freezes well, so you can make big batches, portion it into smaller containers, and freeze it when you need it.
Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepan or large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, 2 minutes. Add the salt and garlic and cook until everything is soft but not browned, about 3 minutes.

Squeeze the tomatoes one by one into the pan, pulverizing them by hand, and pour in their juice, too. Add the bones, wine, oregano, red pepper flakes, if using, black pepper and bay leaf. Bring the sauce to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to its lowest possible setting, and continue to cook for 8 hours. The sauce should reduce by about one-third.

Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Remove the bones and bay leaf. If not using right away, let the sauce cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.

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4

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  • on January 11, 2014

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    Great sauce! Thanks for the tip for substituting meaty beef bones because the only time I have those handy is after we've made prime rib, which is about once a year. Just a couple of gripes, though. I made this sauce along with the Italian Braised Beef several months after watching the actual episode on TV, so I followed the recipe for the sauce exactly as it was written. But when I happened to catch the episode again, I realized that the online recipe left out a parmesan cheese rind, as well as skipped a few key steps such as browning the beef bones first, and later using the wine to deglaze the pot. I kind of thought I should've done those things, but since it was the first time making the sauce I wanted to follow the recipe exactly.

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  • on August 26, 2013

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    This is an awesome sauce! I'll use it for Michael's Italian Braised Beef w/ Root Vegs (Symon's Suppers > Mom's Recipes. Here's the only things I did different:
    -I added more garlic because we are garlic freaks.
    -I also added 1c. of beef broth to make more sauce & add more beef flavor when concentrated. It turned out awesome!
    Hints:
    1- Used diced tomatoes, not whole. That's what he used on the show. HUGE time saver!
    2- Taste half-way through to make sure it's seasoned right. I had to add more salt.
    I can see using a cup or so to enhance many dishes. I'll be freezing in 1c. portions in zippy bags.
    **One thing I'll do different (there will be many next times: I used beef neck bones. Some split while cooking and there are sm pieces in the sauce. Next time I'll make a bag with cheese cloth to put them in. I do this for stocks as well putting all veggies and meat in. Very easy cleanup!

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  • on February 15, 2013

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    OMG!! The best!! I used oxtails instead of the bones, and I've had rave reviews.....everyone thinks there's meat in this sauce, but........not - just the flavor of the oxtails!! This is a really great recipe!!

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