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How To Cook The Columbus Day Feast Of Liberal Nightmares

Columbus Day cooking. Photo by Grae Stafford.

Lies, smears, and slander: Christopher Columbus may be one of the first targets of cancel culture, and it happened right in his own time.

Fortunately for him, none of his contemporaries believed his loan accuser (who, mind you, wanted his job), but today people are dumber, so now dumb people across the very country he discovered are spreading old lies and choosing to honor Indigenous People’s Day instead. “Honoring,” because no one actually “celebrates” Indigenous Peoples Day. And why would they — there’s no pasta, no veil, not a recipe for “the sauce” in early America?

But the Italians did invent the sauce. One Italian in particular also had the vision and the bravery to sail over the ends of the earth, amidst tempests, serpents, and cannibals, to discover the New World (and bring back the tomatoes they needed).

This is that man’s holiday, and these are his peoples’ recipes — brought to you by The Federalist’s Chris Bedford and Power the Future’s Daniel Turner.

Mama Turner’s Sauce:

It’s important to remember: This is a tomato sauce with meat, not a meat sauce with tomato. That means the key flavor profile you want is tomato, and everything else is meant to accentuate it. Also, it freezes very well, so might as well make a lot of it.

4 cans (28oz) of San Marzano tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
6 gloves of garlic peeled
Red wine (plus some for drinking)
Red pepper flakes
4-6 links of Italian sausage (sweet or spicy, to taste)
3lbs of pork bone-in ribs (country style)
2lbs beef ribs, neck, shank. Just something with bone and fatty. Or double the pork
Big bunch of basil

In a big bowl, dump all the tomatoes and their juices, and rinse out the cans with some water.  You’ll need the excess water as the sauce cooks anyway, so if you’ve got an additional cup of liquid, no worries.

Smash the tomatoes up with your hand. You could put them in the blender, too, but be an Italian and feel your tomatoes — they will tell you things. Do this first, because your hands will get messy and you’ll want to wash them so you don’t get your wooden spoon messy.

Get out your big pot. Dutch oven works, too. Coat the bottom with regular olive oil enough to make a film but not so much there are waves, and heat to medium.

In a blender, add chopped onions and smashed garlic, and enough water to make it liquify. Blend it until smooth.

Dump in the pot and cook for a few minutes. It will splatter, and that’s OK. Mom didn’t like chunks of vegetables in her sauce.

Add about half the can of tomato paste, about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and cook this another few minutes. You want the tomato paste to turn a deeper shade of red and cook out its bitterness.

Now put in all your meat. You’re not searing it, you’re not getting color or locking in the flavor… you’re just putting it in the pot. As the video says, if we were making beef stew or pulled pork, we’d do those things. But this is a tomato sauce. Just put in the meat.

Add about 2 cups of red wine — enough to give all the meat a nice bath but not drowning. Cook this a few minutes to burn off the alcohol.  You can smell when it’s gone. Just don’t bring it to some crazy boil here; we got some nice heat going but it’s not intense.

Add the tomatoes and if needed rinse out the bowl with another splash of water. Turn the heat up to medium/high and get it to where some big bubbles are burst, stirring often. We’re just trying to get a uniform heat throughout the pot.

Once it’s all bubbly, turn down to low, cover, and you’ve got five hours to kill. Mom would move it to a cool burner on low just to make sure it didn’t burn, and we’d go to church at this point.

No salt. No pepper. Not yet.

Stir it about every hour and be patient — nothing will happen the first three hours. Around the fourth, the meat should start to break away from the bones. If it’s not happening, maybe it’s too low. If it’s looking too thick, add water. Leave the bones in — they add flavor.

Around hour five, put in the basil. If it’s in too long, it starts tasting like a dried herb, and we want fresh. Now you taste for salt; it will need some for certain, don’t be shy. Probably almost a tablespoon — it’s a lot of tomato and meat.

Too acidic?  Add about 2 tablespoons of butter.
Too bitter?  Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Too bland? Add some red wine or pepper flakes.

But if you did all these steps and gave it a really good five hours, you won’t have any of these issues. (Tomato and meat) + (time and heat) = a very nice sauce.

A sauce like this is best with a short, fat pasta: rigatoni, penne. I guess you could use Pappardelle but it’s kind of … well, don’t.  If you use ravioli or tortellini, you keep that abomination to yourself.

Bedford’s Missing-Capers Veal Milanese

This takes a lot less time, so plan accordingly. If you cook a smaller batch than we did, it’s easy to reheat the veal (or chicken) in the finished sauce, taking a bit of the stress off.

Ingredients (for 4 — easy to scale)
4 veal (or chicken) cutlets, cut thin and pounded out
Garlic powder
Red pepper chili flakes
Italian breadcrumbs
Panko breadcrumbs
Garlic, smashed and diced
Shallots, smashed and diced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock (the good stuff)

Grab out three different bowls and in one, add flour (with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper chili flakes to taste). In the next, add 2 or more eggs, beaten. In the last, add an even mix of Panko and Italian breadcrumbs.

If using chicken, salt it for about an hour before you’re ready to cook it.

Dredge your cutlets first in the flour mix, then the egg wash, and finally the breadcrumbs, setting aside when finished.

Add butter and olive oil to your pan, on medium heat, and when hot enough begin frying the cutlets. Chicken might take a little longer, but veal is quick. Once finished, set them aside (but don’t stack them or they’ll become soggy by steaming themselves). Add more oil and butter as needed.

Add diced garlic and shallots, sautéing until tender (just a minute or two). Hopefully by this time, most of your oil has been absorbed into your meats and the spices, but if there’s a lot, pour some off so you don’t make a disaster with the next step.

When finished cooking the meat and spices, add the white wine to deglaze your pot, scraping up the brown bits. This will splatter and ruin your shirts, so wear an apron. Now add the stock, cooking the mixture down until reduced by half.

Cook the wine down by half, then add 3 cups of butter and the juice of half a lemon. If your capers weren’t stolen by James, you can add them here to make a piccata instead.

Check your taste, add more wine, salt or butter to your satisfaction. If you’d like, give a little heat to the meat by tossing it back in the sauce; then remove it, plate it, and pour the sauce over it. Serve with vegetables or pasta (if you don’t have Mama Turner’s pasta course already).