Italian Gravy, Chiffonade's

For the Gravy...

3- 28 Oz. Cans Whole Peeled Italian Tomatoes
3 Small Cans Tomato Paste
6-7 Fresh Basil Leaves
2 Small Whole Yellow Onions

1 Large Onion (Chopped - to be added later)

In the bowl of your food processor, place one large can of tomatoes, one can of paste and 3 tomato paste cans of water. Blend and transfer to very large non-reactive saucepan (probably closer to a stockpot). Repeat with remaining cans of tomatoes and paste. Add basil leaves and whole small onions and set to a low simmer.

For the Meat (Any or all of the following)...

Italian Sweet or Hot Sausage
Pig's Feet
Pig's Skin (otherwise known as fresh pork rind)
Veal Neck Bones
Pork Neck Bones
Bracciola (directions follow)
Meatballs (directions follow)
Oil for frying

In a large fry pan, heat the oil. Fry sausages at a med-low temperature till browned. If the sausages are connected, start frying them attached and once they are browned, cut them apart. As they are browned, add them to the pot with the tomato products.

For the Meatballs...

In the bowl of your food processor, place 1.5 lbs of ground beef, 1 egg, 3 slices of bread which you have run under the tap to moisten, 3/4 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese, 1 tsp. dry basil leaves, 1 clove garlic, smashed, 1/4 cup dry onion, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Process these ingredients until they are a shade of pink. Roll into meatballs a bit larger than a golf ball. Fry these in the oil where you fried the sausage. Try to brown on all sides (sometimes this makes them look like "pyramid" shaped balls, but don't worry, they are great). As they are browned, drain with slotted spoon and place in pot with tomato and sausages.

For the Bracciola...

Take very flat sheets of beef (some are sold for this purpose in Italian Butchers) and sprinkle on them, chopped garlic, parmesan or romano cheese, pignoli, and a slice of prosciutto or good quality ham. Roll up and tie with butcher's twine. Brown as above and transfer to pot.

Pig's Feet and Skin...

These can be washed and slipped directly into the pot, no browning required.

Neck Bones...

Brown as above and slip into the pot.

You should still have one large onion - chop in food processor and fry in oil where the meats were fried. Scrape up bottom of frying pan, the flavor here is incredible - Combine well with the chopped onion and fry until onion is translucent. Add onion AND OIL to pot.

Stir gently to combine all ingredients...being careful not to stir too turbulently as the meatballs are fragile when not cooked through - they are simply browned at this point. Cook on low heat for one and a half to 2 hours. Stir occasionally to be certain gravy is not burning at the bottom of the pot. A good test (if you use them) is to check whether or not the pig's skin is soft. Pork products added to the gravy create a sweeter taste.

TO SERVE...Your macaroni can be served as a first course, with the meat presented afterward on a large platter. Do not platter the meat until your first course is finished or it will get cold.

Some macaroni suggestions...

Cavatelli (frozen pasta)
Gnocchi (frozen pasta)
Penne (quills)
Ziti (small tubes)
Rotelli (screws)
Mafalde (smaller lasagna-like strips)

Spaghetti or linguini are not recommended for this type of gravy.
A short macaroni is best.