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Stuffed Pig Stomach with Tomato Sauce

Serves 6 to 8

If you are Italian, you probably never heard of stuffed pig stomach but are interested. If you are Pennsylvania Dutch, it is my guess that you think I have lost my mind. But I made a promise to myself years ago that I would create this recipe when an Italian friend made the suggestion after tasting the Pennsylvania Dutch version, which is stuffed with sausage and potatoes, and served with gravy. I revised the recipe to include Italian sausage and seasonings and serve it with tomato sauce. Well, it is out of this world and I am certain any Italian would love it. As for the PA Dutch, most would probably prefer the original, which is in the similar and related recipes. Personally, I love both, and so did my Pennsylvania Dutch mother.

   Tomato Sauce

Preheat oven to 350° F. Use a needle and butcher's twine to sew any small openings in the stomach shut, leaving just the wide opening as is. Mix together the sausage, potatoes, onions, green peppers, garlic, thyme, marjoram, parsley, salt and pepper. Stuff into the stomach, being careful not to rip it. (The stomach is very elastic and stretches much more than you would expect.) Sew up the opening. Rub all over with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a small roasting pan and roast until the potatoes feel tender when pierced with a fork or skewer, about 2 hours, basting every 20 minutes first with water, then the pan juices.

Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots; sauté until softened. Add the garlic; sauté another minute. Add the tomatoes and remaining ingredients except the fresh parsley. Bring to a boil; reduce to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have broken down, about 20 minutes.

When roast is done, remove to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. To finish the sauce, pour off the fat in the roasting pan. Place on a burner over medium-high heat. Add the wine and water; stir, scraping up all the browned bits, until reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook just until well heated and combined. Sprinkle with the fresh parsley. Remove the twine from the roast. Slice into 1-inch thick slices. Serve, topping with some of the sauce and optional cheese.

Notes: Leftover slices are very good topped with sauce and cheese, and reheated in the oven or microwave.