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  • Butcher's Sauce (Ragu' del Macellaio)
    Recipe contributed by Joe Barracato
    • 1 large onion halved and thinly sliced
    • 1 pound ripe red tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, mixed with 2 tablespoons of tomato puree; or 2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped (one 28 ounce can)
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • Dried hot red chili pepper or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, if desired
    • 1/2 lb lean veal or pork
    • 5 or 6 whole cloves
    • 1/2 lb lean lamb
    • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 1 cup dry red or white wine
    • 2 bay leaves
    In a saucepan large enough to hold all the ingredients, gently sauté the onion slices in the olive oil over medium-low heat until the onion is very soft and starts to turn golden.

    While the onion is cooking, cut the meat into very small pieces.

    Add the meat to the onion, raising the heat slightly and cook, stirring continually until the meat is browned on all sides and the liquid it gives off has evaporated.

    Add about a third of the wine, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook slowly; when the wine has almost fully evaporated, add another third of the wine, stirring repeatedly, and then the final third. By the time the final addition of wine has almost completely evaporated, the meat should be quite soft.

    Add the chopped tomatoes, chili pepper or red pepper flakes, cloves and a little salt and stir to mix well. Lower the heat so that the sauce bubbles gently, add the bay leaves and several grinds of black pepper and cover the saucepan. Leave on gentle heat for 2 to 2.5 hours, from time to time adding, if necessary, a little boiling water to keep the sauce from becoming too thick.

    When the sauce is done, taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove and discard the bay leaves and cloves. Makes 6 servings.

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