I don't make it this way because I find it too heavy, too oily. But some, including my late father, who was as fanatical to the extreme about food as he was about soccer, would say that this is by far the best Sunday Gravy. On that there can be no debate!
Lamb any or all of the following: lamb pancetta (belly) lamb chops lamb shoulder
Veal from the shank of shoulder ribs
Meatballs ground pork/veal mix 1 egg breadcrumbs and grated Pecorino cheese to taste
Italian Pork Sausage preferably homemade
Making the Gravy
Cover the base of a dutch oven a half-inch deep with olive oil. His favorite was Filippo Berio. Heat the oil with a whole yellow cooking onion, halved. When the onion has begun to brown around the edges, remove it from the oil. Sprinkle it with salt and snack on it with a glass of homemade wine. Brown all the meat in this oil. The bigger the mess you make with the oil splattering, the better.* Once the meat has browned, pour in the homemade jars of tomatoes enough to cover the meat and then some, and a can of tomato paste. Salt and pepper to taste. A sprinkle of sugar and a splash of red wine. Cover with a lid and simmer for the duration of the soccer game. (He was a rabid Juventus fan.) Try to remember to stir it occasionally.
Maccheroni: Bring a stockpot 2/3 full of salted water to boil. Cook 1 lb of Penne Lisce. My father used to swear they were the best for this gravy because they slid between the lips. I'm sure all the oil helped too! When the pasta is cooked, one minute longer than al dente, strain in a colander.
Plating the serving dish: On a serving dish warmed in the oven, place half a stick of butter. Pour in the pasta. Swirl it around until the butter has melted. Add the gravy one ladle at a time, mixing it the pasta to thoroughly coat it. Not more than that. It's called past'asciutta, meaning dry, not swimming in a broth. On a separate plate place the meat. The maccheroni was always served as a first course and the meat with a green tossed salad as a second course. Bread was served with the meat, but not with the pasta. Cheese was placed on the table, allowing each one to use as much or as little as they preferred.
My father, best remembered for his stunning good looks, always showered, shaved, styled his hair, and dressed every night for dinner. Always.
He didn't worry about getting his clothes dirty because: "the women will do the dishes", while he sipped his espresso and enjoyed a cigarette in the living room.