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. I’ll never forget the day I was left in charge of the revered simmering pot one Sunday when my mom had to make an unexpected grocery run right in the middle of her weekly ritual. I was given the wooden spoon along with strict instructions on how to stir it every 10 minutes so it wouldn’t stick. I kept a close eye on the timer and didn’t dare leave that pot until she returned…there’d be hell to pay if that gravy started to stick! (Thinking back on this always reminds me of the sauce scene play out in ‘Goodfellas’)

Her Sunday gravy 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!