People get all nostalgic listening to old men talk about mama spending all day Sunday making tomato sauce for pasta. (That's gravy if you happen to be in New Jersey.)
Yes, we see Mama in her faded cotton dress bringing an apron-full of tomatoes from her garden and then stirring the pot on the stove for hours on end. Tasting here, seasoning there and all bent over and crippled from all that bending and stair-climbing.
What I could never figure out is how she ever had time to go to Mass if she spent all that time in La Cucina making sauce plus all the other things that go with a Sunday lunch for the family? What I have figured out, though, is how to make a very good ragu in a fraction of the time. And this is no fix-it-fast concoction from Rachel Ray, either.
It's the real deal inspired from a Sicilian recipe I picked up a few years back.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 8-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup minced onion
1 cup minced celery
1 pound ground veal
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
1 cup frozen peas
Pinch of cinnamon
Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan and brown the tomato paste for several minutes.
Add enough water to make a smooth sauce.
Add onion, celery, ground veal and enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer and breakup meat with a fork.
Continue simmering for about an hour on low.
Add salt and enough sugar to just sweeten it a little.
Add peas and cook until tender.