For the past few years we have forgone the dining out experience on Valentine’s day and stayed in. Working in the restaurant industry I probably shouldn’t admit to that but being 4 months pregnant with an 8 month old at home tends to lend itself to casual dinner dates. This year I made my husband do the work (thank you very much!) and requested his Sunday gravy. A-maz-ing. No restaurant is cheffing up anything that comes close to this sauce! While his recipe might never be revealed (even to me!), here are some of my tips on how to makes this savory treat and impress your loved ones 🙂
One of the tricks to Sunday Gravy is there is no “right” amount of anything. The key is using quality ingredients. Slow cooking them means their flavors will be enhanced so you want to start of with the good stuff! Here’s a list of some of my suggested flavors.
About 4 cans of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste (to thicken the sauce)
1 package of basil
A couple cloves of garlic (we don’t skimp on the garlic in our house!)
1/2 a large onion, chopped
Dried Italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper
We like using a mix of short beef ribs, pork ribs, and meatballs (a family favorite recipe will do! Pre-cook these and add them into the sauce in the last 15 minutes or so, otherwise they’ll break apart and you’ll end up with bolognese!). Add as much or as little as you like, but remember it will cook down and this really adds the hearty flavor!
Brown the meats in a large sauce pot over medium high heat. Remove to a side plate. Lower heat to medium and drizzle with EVOO. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Replace the meat back into the pot and add the remaining ingredients. Give the ingredients a good stir and then let them do the work! Lower heat to low, cover, and let the sauce simmer gently for 5-6 hours, stirring occasionally. We serve over bucatini so the pasta really sops up the sauce! Warm, crusty Italian bread is a necessity for dipping as well!
There are so many tips and tricks and different ingredients for an authentic Sunday gravy, but this one is simple, flexible, and so delicious you won’t be disappointed! The ingredients are so forgiving that you can add/subtract any you want and it will still turn out amazing. Try melting some anchovies in after browning the meat for a nutty flavor or deglazing the pan with a splash of good red wine if you’d like to get fancy! It really can’t hurt to play around. The one tip I could get out of Fort Knox? A little bit of sugar in the sauce takes the bitterness out of the tomatoes. That’s all I could get! 😉
Oh, and since this was our Valentine’s celebration, we skipped the traditional flowers and opted for a more-um-pregnant wife friendly option…Cannoli Pie from Angela Mia Bakery, my favorite! Well done, honey, well done 🙂
Eat Well (and tasty!),
Stephanie a.k.a. The Foodetarian