The ingredients stand ready. Fresh Basil and Garlic are key. Pecorino Romano is fantastic if you can get it. While simple, the success of the sauce lies in the ingredients and how they're blended.
3 cloves of fresh garlic.
See the light. Remember GoodFellas, the prison scene where they were cooking an Italian meal? You want the garlic that thin. You can use a razor blade if you don't have a sharp knife.
Add Olive Oil to pan and heat.
Brown the garlic. Set to the side. Careful not to burn it. Dump the garlic and oil into the sauce now.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees and cook the pork for 45 minutes. It doesn't have to be perfect, it's going in the sauce and will finish up there. Tip: if you smoke ribs, save the end cuts and use that!
Add the tomatoes to your pot and simmer them down for a while. If you want to move faster, put them in a blender and chop. They still need to cook for 45 minutes on medium heat.
Once the tomatoes have been reduced, add your can of purée.
Add one can of water (28 oz.). Cook that mixture for 30 minutes.
The bay leaf. Stella says don't miss this step!
Add salt, pepper, and basil (chopped fine),
Now we wait. Medium to low heat, stirring frequently. No lid for now so the steam will evaporate. It also fills your house with smells that you'll never forget.
Once your pork is done, add it, and all the drippings to the sauce!
After a couple hours, the meat will fall off the bone (don't forget to remove the bones). Continue to simmer the sauce and stir every 10 minutes or so.
After a few hours of simmering you'll see the sauce start to thicken. This is where things start to deviate from the recipe and are more about finesse and personal preference.
For a thicker sauce, let it cook with no lid. To make thinner, add some water until desired consistency is achieved. At the 3.5 hr. mark the fun begins, taste testing 😃!
With the consistency to your liking, start tasting at 3.5 hours. Too sour? Add a couple pinches of Baking Soda. Try a tablespoon of sugar too! Please use a good, fresh piece of Italian bread to test.
The (almost) finished product. Season to taste. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes. Bones and bay leaf out, wine and cheese in. Cook another 30 minutes and you should be set.
I like to "color" the pasta before serving. Simply run a little sauce over your pasta and mix, then serve. Adding more sauce to each plate as desired. Meatball instructions up next...