Sunday Gravy and Meatballs

MeatballsSunday Gravy, I hardly knew ye. How in the world could a fairly well rounded (albeit non- New Yorker, New Jersian, Rhode Islander) have been so clueless about Sunday Gravy? Just another term for some basic marinara with that “My Grandmother makes the best …” theme? Not on your life! What a grand idea to slowly warm the meats in the tomato sauce then remove them before serving. The layers of flavors in the gravy just have to be experienced first hand to believe. If you’ve never made Sunday Gravy, definitely give this a shot. Don’t let the list of ingredients spook you a bit … they are all available at your local grocery store, after putting it on the stove you still have hours to read other food blogs (grin!), and this recipe will feed your family for several days. Nice.

Ingredients for the sauce:

2 TBS olive oil

1 1/2 pounds pork country ribs

1 1/2 pounds Italian or fennel pork sausages

8 garlic cloves

1/4 cup tomato paste

3 28 to 35 ounce cans Italian peeled tomatoes

1 cup water

1 cup red wine

salt and freshly ground pepper

6 basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Ingredients for the meatballs:Sunday gravy and meatballs

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 cup homemade bread crumbs

2 large eggs

2 tsp garlic, finely minced

1/2 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 TBS flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 TBS olive oil

Ingredients for service:

1 lb shells or rigatoni, cooked and still hot

Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano

Sauce directions:

1. Heat oil in large heave opt over medium heat. Pat the pork dry and put the pieces in the pot. Cook, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until nicely browned on all sides. Transfer pork to a plate. Brown the sausages on all sides in the same way, and transfer to a plate.

2. Drain most of the fat from the pot and add the whole garlic cloves. Cook for about 2 minutes or until golden. Remove and chop finely. Add tomato paste to the pot and cook for 1 minute.

3. With a food mill or food processor, puree the tomatoes with their juice. Add to the pot along with the water, wine, chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Return the pork and sausages to the pot and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 hours. If the sauce becomes too thick, add some more water.

4. To serve, remove the meats from the sauce and set aside to serve separately at this or another meal. Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

Meatballs directions:

1. Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl. Mix together thoroughly.

2. Rinse your hands with cool water and lightly shape the mixture into 2 inch balls.

3. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet. Add the meatballs and brown them well on all sides. (They will finish cooking later.) Transfer the meatballs to a plate and refridgerate.

4. 30 minutes before dinner, add the meatballs to the Sunday Gravy.

5. To serve, top pasta with meatballs or serve them separately.


* Yes, the canned tomatoes do need to be Italian. They are different. Just get the Italian ones.

* Splurge on the cheese. Get the really hard hunks of good stuff. You’ll be thankful.

* When digging out the meatballs, Italian sausage, and pork ribs from the pot, realize that a good amount of the pork ribs will simply have disintegrated into the gravy, and most other pieces will fall apart as you lift them from the pot. Mmmmmm.

* This recipe is a combination of those from the Sopranos Family Cookbook and Food Blogga’s recipe on NPR.

* Both recipes actually called for half the garlic, and just cooked it in the oil and discarded. After one try that way, we doubled it (a good call in my book for most anything!) then found that the mild cooked garlic was lovely when added back to the gravy. Without an Italian grandmother to honor, I just followed my heart.

* If you can plan ahead to make homemade bread crumbs, its so worth it!


5 responses to “Sunday Gravy and Meatballs

  1. Pingback: Sopranos Sunday Dinner « Living Local in California … Seasonal Cooking and Sights

  2. I cannot tell you how good this looks…wow, just perfect…I need this to live.

  3. YUM! Seriously, if you make this again, you must invite us over. Of course I may have to try to make this sooner rather than later cuz it sounds fantastic (and with no East coast relatives to give me any Sopranos love this will have to do).

  4. Pingback: Braciole « Living Local in California … Seasonal Cooking and Sights

  5. Pingback: Linguini with Sausage and Zucchini | Living Local in California

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