Sunday Gravy

This recipe for Sunday gravy (red sauce with meatballs, Italian sausage, etc) can be found in any Italian American household! Everyone has a different version; this one has been in my family for decades. I love it because you can freeze the sauce and use it for so many different recipes. I use the sauce for my homemade pizza-recipe to follow-making other meat dishes, pasta dishes, a side for dipping, whatever I'm in the mood for. Plus, it's so easy to make, and your house will smell great for the rest of the day!

8 28-oz cans of whole tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano, WITHOUT basil. Canned basil tastes like death and the tears of small children)
1 small can of tomato paste (I use Contadina, again with no added spices)
extra virgin olive oil
black pepper
1 bulb of garlic, minced*
1 cup of dry red wine (I prefer Chianti)
salt, to taste

Meatball Ingredients:

1lb ground veal, 1lb ground pork, salt, pepper, about 2 tsp chopped parsley, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1 egg, 3/4 cup grated parmigiana reggiano, 3-4 cloves minced garlic, about 2/3 of a can of tomato juice. 

Gravy Directions:

1. In a large stockpot, cover the bottom with olive oil. Add the garlic and black pepper, and brown the garlic. Turn the heat to low when garlic begins to brown.

2. Run the cans of whole tomatoes through a blender or food processor, and add to the stockpot. Add the tomato paste, wine, and a little bit of salt for tasting.

3. Simmer on the stovetop for 6-8 hours, stirring frequently. Use immediately, or put in Rubbermaid containers in freezer or fridge to save for later.

Meatball Instructions

1. After the Sunday gravy has been on the stove for a few hours, go ahead and make the meatballs. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mash together.**

2. Roll mixture into medium balls, and drop into the Sunday gravy stockpot. Let cook for about 2 hours, then transfer from the stockpot to a bowl. Cover with tinfoil to keep warm until you're ready to serve them.

*Yes, you CAN add all sorts of ingredients to the gravy, such as ground beef (SO not my thing), onions, mushrooms, carrots, etc. I know plenty of families who do this, and if it makes them happy, hey more power to them. However, I've always subscribed to the "less is more" theory, and I truly believe the sauce tastes better without a ton of extra ingredients thrown in.

** I'm really not a purist, and contrary to what every chef on the Food Network and pretty much every cookbook author claims, you CAN use garlic presses. I've tried chopping garlic, and frankly I just don't like it. It makes too much a mess, my fingers get sticky, and I think the delicious garlic flavor seeps out and more of it ends up on the cutting board than in the recipe. I've been using my Pampered Chef garlic press for a few years now, and it hasn't let me down yet! :)


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