Gracie’s Sunday Sauce – We Called it Gravy
I could not think of a better way to kick off this blog than by giving you the recipe for my mother’s (Gracie) Sunday Gravy. She would labor over the sauce each and every Sunday, putting up a huge pot that would suffice not only the Sunday family feast but at least two other weekday meals. My mother simmered her gravy for hours and always had her meatballs or some other meat cooking and flavoring the final product.
In the recipe below we’re are going to include meatballs and sausage for flavoring, but you can go meatless (Mediterranean style) by adding additional vegetables. In our next blog post we will give you a step by step guide to great, low-fat meatballs.
Here We Go:
Ingredients: This will make enough to fill a large pot. The sauce can than cooled and frozen for future use
. 2 large #10 cans of peeled Italian Plum tomatoes. I always like to use San Marzano or San Marzano Type Tomatoes.
. ¼ cup olive oil
. 5 gloves garlic minced
. 2 medium sized onions, minced
. 1 cup carrot, cleaned and minced
. 1 cup celery minced
. 1 cup tomato paste
. ½ cup chopped parsley
. ½ cup chopped oregano
. ½ cup chopped fresh basil
. Salt and pepper to taste
. Dozen meatballs (browned, to cook in the sauce)
. 3 hot and 3 sweet sausage (browned, to cook in the sauce)
. Can substitute or add browned braciole, steak and pork chops
Step 1 – Begin by draining the tomatoes, saving some of the juice. If you like a chunky sauce, crush the tomatoes by hand, trying to remove some of the seeds. If you like a smooth sauce, run the tomatoes through a food mill. This will also remove seeds, which tend to make the sauce bitter. Set aside
Step 2 – In a large heavy pot begin to heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until they are transparent.
Step 3 – Add the carrots and celery and the reserved juice from the tomatoes, continue to simmer over low/medium heat for another 10 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft.
Step 4 – Add tomato paste and sauté a few minutes with the vegetables. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, occasionally stirring. Add the parsley, basil and oregano and stir. Salt and pepper to taste and reduce heat to a simmer
Step 5 – Let your sauce simmer uncovered for an hour to an hour and half, during which time you are preparing and browning your meats. When ready, add your meats to the simmering sauce. My mom would simmer her gravy for an additional 2 hours to make certain the meats (especially her meatballs) cooked through, and all the flavors combined with the sauce. You don’t need that much time; another hour will do the job.
You will know when the gravy is done as everyone will be wanting to sit down and eat. We always had my mom’s Sunday Gravy, with the family and there was always a good bottle of Chianti for the adults.
Remember a true Mediterranean Diet limit signficiantly the amount of meat, especially red meats in your diet. I highly recommend that you substitute additional carrots and celery for the meats.