“All you need is love.” ~J. Lennon
There is an old adage that the secret ingredient in any good cooking is love. This is especially true when Italian grandmothers and Sunday afternoons are involved. So for this episode of Power to the People, foodiggity rolled out of bed on Sunday, put on the gold chains, and got the sauce on.
But this is far from your average Sunday sauce. Inspired by one of the greatest things ever—a Cuban dish called Ropa Vieja—we proudly present to you… Foodiggity’s Sunday Love Ragu.
The Beatles ‘Love’ is on loop in the foodiggity test kitchen… Let’s do this thing.
• 1 flank steak, 1 ½-2 lbs.
The Pre-Game Marinade
• olive oil
• garlic, thinly sliced
• red wine vinegar
• fresh oregano, thyme, rosemary
• salt and pepper
The Base (soffritto)
• 1 large carrot, small dice
• 3 large celery stalks, small dice
• 1/2 large yellow onion, small dice
• 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
• fennel seeds (smoky, anise)
• chili flakes (heat, balance)
• tomato paste
• red wine
• 3- 28oz. cans of crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
• fresh thyme and oregano, tied up (as shown)
• chicken stock
• 1 bay leaf
• green olives, sliced
“There’s nothing you can make that can’t be made… Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time… It’s easy.”
Add flank to a mixture of our pre-game marinade ingredients, coating well. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.
Add celery, carrot, garlic, onion, and olive oil to your sauce pot on high heat. Season well with salt and pepper and sauté until we get some color, add fennel and chili flakes. Fennel and chili flakes are added to give your base its personality, so use at your discretion. Let your nose be your guide here. Remember this is your base and it is going to shape everything you do from this point forward.
Add tomato paste. Start with a tablespoon in mind and adjust depending on how much richer you would like this sauce to be. Pour in a quarter of a bottle of red wine, reduce down until syrupy and the alcohol has evaporated. Again, using your nose as your guide.
Add tomatoes, 2 cups of stock, submerge your tied herbs and bay leaf. Heat to a simmer, stir occasionally.
Remove flank from marinade. Add liberal amount of salt and pepper to each side. Add olive oil to sautè pan on high heat and sear steak 4 minutes on each side. Once steak receives a good browning, submerge in our sauce. Return to simmer for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Sit, drink remaining wine.
The flank will start to fall apart after about 2 hours, and using forks to help it along is encouraged. Add olives and capers with about an hour to go. These two ingredients will give the sauce a good salt component, so use as much or as little as you’d like, if at all. We realize they are not for everyone.
Very often sugar is added to tomato sauce to cut the acidity. We only recommend this towards the end of the cooking process, as the acid actually helps break down our flank. Add sugar later to taste once the flank is already coming apart. At this point, you’ll want to start getting some tasting spoon action.
This sauce will literally laugh at you if you try to serve it with a thin pasta. Look to rigatoni, or tortiglioni, which are big and have ridges. The ridges—in addition to making your pasta aerodynamic—provide the deep pockets needed to grab on to this sauce.
Now, John Lennon certainly did not have cooking in mind when he wrote these lyrics (he was British after all.) But he may have been on to something. Although love is certainly not all you need, it is a great start. And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. Or something.
Thank you for reading this episode of ‘Power to the People‘. Foodiggity loves you but thinks we should just be friends.
Let us know what you like to cook on Sundays, or if you try out the Love Ragu.