Domestifluff - Food.Craft.Etc


  • I'm Kristen, a clumsy but determined home cook and crafter living in the Boston area with my husband, B, and I have an interest in all things food and craft.

    This blog was created to keep track of my various projects and adventures. They may not all be successes, but my goal is to remain unintimidated by whatever engages my curiosity.

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Classic Brooklyn Italian Meat Sauce

I’m not from Brooklyn, and I’m actually not even Italian, though I did grow up in a place where 75% or more of the population had at least some Italian heritage, but I’d like to think that all of those years of eating delicious spaghetti dinners at the local Sons of Italy have given me at least a decent ability to tell a good sauce from a not so good one. And, in my not-Italian-but-Italian-food-loving opinion, this is a very good sauce. Actually, it’s more like liquid meat with a little bit of sauce in it. The recipe is a descendant of Bolognese sauce, which I also love, but instead of containing a variety of meats, it only calls for ground beef.

It takes a little time to make this sauce, but time is key, as the 1 1/2 hour cooking time (and all that beef) is what gives this recipe its deep, hearty flavor. Spoon some over any type of pasta (my favorite gluten free brand is Tinkyada), and you’ll have yourself a very filling meal. I make the full recipe, which is pretty large, and freeze leftover sauce for later. Or I halve the recipe to make a smaller batch if I don’t have room in the freezer.

This recipe is from a David Rosengarten’s cookbook, It’s All American Food, and I really haven’t changed a thing about the recipe because it’s great as is. I’m so looking forward to trying another of the sauce recipes in the Italian chapter of the book: The Four-Hour Epic Sauce : Grandma’s Long-Cooked Tomato Gravy. Is it even possible that this sauce won’t be awesome?

Classic Brooklyn-Italian Meat Sauce
from It’s All American Food by David Rosengarten
yields approximately 3 quarts


2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1/2 cup finely minced garlic
1/2 lb. Onions, peeled and finely minced
1 carrot, peeled and finely minced
1 stalk celery, finely minced
3 lbs. Ground beef
salt and pepper to taste (I use at least 1 tsp. salt)
2 (28 oz.) cans tomatoes in juice
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 tsp. sugar or xylitol
2 Tbsp. Dried oregano


1. In a large, heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the minced carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 5 minutes.

2. Push vegetables to one side of the pot and add about one third of the ground beef. Salt to taste, and cook until the meat starts to brown, about 3-5 minutes. Stir the beef occasionally, breaking it into small pieces as you do. Push it to the side with the vegetables and repeat the browning process with the second third of the beef. After that starts to brown, push it to the side and repeat the process one more time for the remainder of the beef. When all of the beef is cooked, mix all of the meat and vegetables together.

3. Add the tomatoes with their juice to the meat/vegetable mixture. Add the tomato paste, oregano, and sugar/xylitol and mix well. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes against the side of the pot as you stir. Note: If you’re making a half recipe, you may have to add a little bit (about ¼ cup or so) of water toward the end of the cooking time because the sauce tends to become overly thick. It shouldn’t be an issue if you’re making the full recipe.

4. When the sauce has finished cooking, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or cool and freeze.

Posted in Food, Gluten Free, Main Dishes | 8 Comments »

8 Responses

  1. Jessica says:

    This post made me so hungry on Friday, that I just couldn’t bear to cook it myself, so I made my hubby take me out to Italian for dinner. You have to quit doing that!

  2. Kristen says:

    Uh oh! Sorry, Jessica, but hey, you got a nice Italian dinner out of it, right? *wink, wink*

  3. m_annalisa says:

    sono bolognese DOC, scriverò in italiano la mia ricetta del ragù bolognese!

    cipolla e carota tritate finemente e fatte rosolare con olio di oliva ben caldo.
    mettere la carne macinata di solo manzo. possibile anche maiale ma al massimo un 10% della quantità di manzo. fate rosolare la carne a fuoco basso con coperchio chiuso della pentola fino a quando la carne ha riassorbito la sua stessa acqua. allora procedere con la salsa di pomodoro, pochissima, al massimo tre cucchiai per 300 gr di carne. lasciare cuocere e controllare di tanto in tanto, quando la carne ha assorbito interamente il sugo è pronto.
    per 300 gr di carne la cottura è di circa 1 ora e mezza, più cuoce e più sarà buono!

    a presto!

  4. m_annalisa says:

    dimenticavo: la salvia!

  5. MelissaD says:

    I just came across your website today as I was searching for a “normal” GF biscuit recipe. Turned out SO good! Hit the spot! Been checking out your other GF recipes and am totally stoked about trying them out! They look so yummy! Normal foods. Normal ingredients. But good! Thank you SO MUCH for posting your GF goodies! Subscribed to your site & am looking forward to seeing what’s to come. Keep it coming!

  6. Kristen says:

    MelissaD – I’m so happy to hear that you like the biscuits, and I appreciate your nice words about the site. Thank you!

  7. Cindy says:

    The photo looks incredible, and the recipe sounds easy enough. I’m gonna try it!

  8. Tasha says:

    Hello Kristen, I was in Trader Joes in Maplewood, NJ and they were offering as a taster your Shane’s insane gluten free almond butter cookies. They were ABSOLUTELY delisc!! I bought all of the ingredients and will be making them this weekend!! Your email address was on the bottom of the recipe, so I just had to log on to it and can’t wait to try some of your other recipes!! Keep up the Good Work!

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