The term gravy is a New York City area/New Jersey thing. Many of fights have ensued over how to make the sauce, the ingredients, the time to cook it and of course, what you call it. My secretary Phyllis (from Staten Island) and I used to go back and forth about who’s recipe was better. (I conceded, her mother’s gravy was top notch.)
Yesterday, I received a Facebook private note requesting my recipe for sauce. This very special friend is a true Italian at heart and is learning to be one in the kitchen. I apologize Morgan for the vagueness of the ingredients and instruction. It’s something I have done for decades without thought. I hope it worked.
What you need:
- 1-2 onions chopped and maybe diced depending how thick you like the outcome. The amount depends on the batch size you are making.
- a few cloves of fresh garlic diced
- Olive oil
- Italian herbs: dried is fine, fresh is better. Use Oregano, Basil and crushed red pepper.
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Tomato paste (I like Contadina)
- Tomatoes. I prefer cartons, not cans so that ‘tinny’ taste is not present. I use 1-2 cartons of crushed and 1 carton of puree.
Note: I do not brown meat or use meat in the sauce. I do not add wine or sugar. If you want to, you could add a carrot for sweetness and remove it when you are done.
What to do:
Get a nice sized Dutch oven or pot. Add the olive oil and begin to heat it on medium heat.
- add the onions and garlic and stir-stir.
- add the herbs now. The heat gets them going and the aroma is spectacular. Then stir-stir.
- slooowly add the tomatoes and you guessed, stir-stir.
- leave it on low for about 30 minutes. Come back and stir-stir and add the paste.
- now you can salt & pepper as well, after you taste it. Dipping bread in at this point is highly recommended to insure good quality.
- now just let it be; cover and simmer for at least an hour on low/simmer.
This makes a few good portions to freeze and it freezes very well. Then you can use it for chicken, meatballs or sausage. The flavor will pop at that point. It is not fancy and I have no trick like the guy in The Godfather. He made gravy. Call it what you will, it’s just simple and easy. Like most things, that’s the best way.
Morgan said it was great! And I had just in turn asked her to share the recipe with me as I love some real…good…Italian “gravy”!!! Thanks for sharing Karen!