I know, that title is confusing. But stick with me here for a moment.

When I was in high school we had a family friend who was of Italian heritage. She didn’t cook often, but when she did it was amazing. It was not so much that the food she made was any different than what I was used to – spaghetti with meat sauce, rice with fish or chicken – it was the complexity of the flavors that blew me away.

It was probably because most of the Italian restaurants and recipes I had been accustomed to are really Italian-American. So things are changed and compromises made to suit the tastes of the average American.

When she fed us a meal of spaghetti with meat sauce I was shocked to see shredded chunks of beef in the sauce. It was rich and meaty and had all sorts of flavors going on – fresh and woody herbs, deep beefy flavor, plenty of garlic, a twang from wine or vinegar, and a touch of cheese to flavor the sauce.

It was a sauce that simmered all day and tasted like something an Italian grandmother fed her family every Sunday. I was hooked. Of course I wasn’t really into cooking then so I didn’t think to ask for a recipe, but this sauce comes very, very close.

It also is easy to throw together and will make at least two meals for you. We ate it one day over sauteed cabbage “noodles” and the next it was the star of an eggplant lasagna.

Print Recipe

All Day Beef Roast Tomato Sauce

A meat-based tomato sauce made from a whole beef roast that is simmered all day.

Course: Main Course

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 3 lb beef roast
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil or lard
  • 2 medium onions halved and sliced into half moons
  • 1 head of garlic cloves smashed and peeled
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 16 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a large pot heat fat over high heat. Once pot is very hot place roast in. Allow to brown for around 4-5 minutes until deeply caramelized. Rotate and continue to brown all sides. Remove roast and set aside.
  2. Add onions and saute for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Meanwhile, cut large roast into 4 or 5 smaller chunks.
  3. Add all other ingredients to the onions, ending with the pieces of roast.The meat should be nearly submerged in the sauce. If there is not enough liquid, which may happen simply because of the shape of your pot, add enough water so that the pieces of roast are nearly covered.
  4. Bring to a simmer and then turn heat to low. Cover and cook all day, 6-8 hours, over low heat, stirring occasionally. One hour before you plan to serve it remove lid and remove pieces of roast. Pull meat apart using two forks until it is shredded finely. Return shredded meat to sauce, add Parmesan, taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  5. Serve over your favorite pasta, vegetables, or in a lasagna or other casserole.

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