Best Italian gravy?

  • Posted by: Lita
  • August 18, 2013


Lauren2pt0 August 19, 2013
I grew up in Southern New Jersey in an Italian family that loved homemade "gravy." We would empty two large cans of crushed tomatoes and one small can of tomato paste into a crop pot. Season with half a red onion, a few cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Then, add some hot Italian sausage and your own (raw) meatballs. Set it on low and let it sit for 8 hours!

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Greenstuff August 18, 2013
pierino offers some great advice, but I would add Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, to his New York-New Jersey. There's a wonderful cookbook, We Called It Macaroni: An American Heritage of Southern Italian Cooking bu Nancy Verde Barr. It was published in 1991, but last time I looked, it was still available. She grew up in Providence and studied/worked with Marcella Hazen, Madeline Kammen, and Julia Child. It includes a recipe for her grandmother's gravy, as well as some other options. A great read and a great cookbook.
amysarah August 18, 2013
That's a great cookbook. Also, besides the ones already mentioned, there are also long established Italian-American communities in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, New Haven...lots of 'gravy' happening beyond NY/NJ.
pierino August 18, 2013
This is an interesting question as it is pretty much New York-Jersey specific. There is no such thing as Italian "Gravy" in Italy. But if you want to work off of some old time models begin by making a soffrito with chopped onions and garlic. Add a lot of good quality canned tomatoes. Mix that altogether along with some oregano (hold fresh basil for the finish). Separately brown a pork shoulder in a large pan. Or you can substitute a piece of cow or goat. Now, put that into the tomato sauce and braise for about 3 or 4 hours. Italian style the sauce would be served by itself over pasta and the meat served separately. Don't forget your salt and pepper. Finish the plates with fresh basil.
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