Growing up with a Sicilian dad, my mom (a red-headed Irish lassie) was the best Italian cook I knew — my aunts on my dad’s side even all agreed that her eggplant parmigiana was the best they’ve had. So every Sunday at our house was an Italian-American eating marathon which ALWAYS included a large pot of sauce (which was referred to as gravy). My mom would put whole meats into hers and that pot simmered for hours. Sometimes I’d be put in charge of stirring it every so often so it wouldn’t stick to the bottom. This job was of paramount importance…there’d be hell to pay if that gravy started to stick!
Her meat sauce always meant the addition of meatballs, sausage, sometimes even pepperoni — my personal favorite. Oh, those plump juicy nuggets were truly wonderful. I hardly ever get to make it that way today since my husband has high blood pressure and the pepperoni is just too salty for him. Ugh!
Over the years I’ve come up with lots of variations of her gravy, depending on what it will be used for. Here’s my basic marinara sauce.
- 1 whole onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- olive oil
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 Tbs. dried Italian herbs
- Chicken broth in carton, as needed
Into a hot sauce pot add olive oil. When heated add onion until translucent, then add garlic. When fragrant, add the herbs and crushed tomatoes. When it reaches a boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for close to 45 minutes. If it gets too thick along the way, thin out with some chicken broth.
Interested in long cooking Sunday gravy with meat?