I am not a fan of my own marinara but a few in the house won't eat any other spaghetti sauce. If you have perused my family recipes this will be a repeat for you. It's based on the recipe I learned in school, adapted for my family's tastes. The bacon and ham hock sound odd unless you are Italian. Almost all Italian "gravy" is made with meat in it, even if it's taken out before serving.
Makes 3 quarts
4 slices bacon-diced
4 cloves garlic-minced
1 medium onion-diced
2 stalks celery-diced
1 large carrot-diced
1c. beef stock
1 smoked ham hock
3-29 oz cans tomato purée
To Taste: basil, oregano,bay leaf, thyme, parsley,
sugar and salt andpepper
Saute bacon in a large pot until limp but not browned.
Add vegetables and sauté until onions are translucent.
Add stock to deglaze the pan.
Add ham hock and simmer briefly.
Add tomatoes and all seasonings except bay leaf.
Simmer 2 1/2 hours DO NOT LID or it will become acidic.
Add bay leaf and simmer 1/2 hour. Remove ham hock and
pureé through a food mill or process and strain.
Reheat and serve as desired.
This is what my kids really like about spaghetti nights.
Anne's Almost Famous Cheese Bread
Makes 2 Loaves
This isn't your everyday run-of-the-mill cheese bread. There's a tunnel of savory cheese right through the center of this bread. It's excellent with spaghetti and is so hearty it can be eaten all alone.
5 1/2- 6 c flour
2 pkgs dry yeast
2 t salt
1 t sugar
2 c warm water (110°-120°--or 1 c warm milk and 1 c water)
Add yeast to water and dissolve. Add sugar and about 1 c flour and mix well. Let this stand in a warm area until it "sponges" or puffs up. Add salt and remaining flour, a cup at a time, until the dough forms a ball. Knead until smooth and elastic about 6-8 minutes. Cover with a tablespoon of oil and turn to coat. Let rise, covered, in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 to 1/2 hours or less if you use rapid rise yeast.
In the meantime make the filling:
4 c shredded cheese (I usually use mozzarella and cheddar mixed although the first time I made this I used a mixture off goat's milk Gruyere and cheddar)
1 t parsley
1/2 t each basil, oregano, and garlic-powdered or fresh minced, and minced onion (I use Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb, about a teaspoon, and that covers all of this)
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
The cheeses, seasonings and eggs ready to mix:
Mix this all together well.
When dough has risen double, punch down and separate into 2 parts.
I do the forming in one of 3 ways.
1) Roll dough into a rectangle about 12 x 15 inches and spread half of the filling down the center. Fold up short ends and roll from long side and pinch closed. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
2) Roll dough into a circle, about 12 inches in diameter. Spread half the filling to within an inch of the edge and fold over towards center, keeping the circular shape. Turn over and bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
3) Shape as above (circle) and place in a lightly greased round casserole or souffle dish and bake as directed.
Once the dough is shaped, set it to rise for a second time, until double in bulk, before baking.
Bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let cool for at least half an hour or the cheese will drip right out when you cut it!
This is shaped like #1 above.
This is almost a meal in itself, really, It makes 2 loaves and when we have pasta with it we usually only have one wedge each and save the other loaf for another time. Each loaf makes 8 wedges or slices.
P.S. Dad is HOME. Please keep praying for him!