I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday Gravy (Marinara)

I have been making a simplified version of "Sunday Gravy" for many years. I got my first recipe for Sunday Gravy from a patient of mine when I was a medical student in Chicago. Since then I have seen literally hundreds of recipes. They are all good. For Columbus Day I decided to make a pot of Sunday Gravy the more complicated way. One defining characteristic of most recipes is the cooking of meat in the sauce over low heat for several hours. Most recipes include several types of meat like sausage, meatballs and some sort of beef or pork cut.

Most times when I make marinara I just use a pork chop and some meatballs. Mine usually only cooks for an hour to an hour and a half. I do something unique when I make marinara, at least I have not seen anyone else do it or reference it in a recipe. After the sauce is cooked I take the meat out and throw the chunks of tomato still in the sauce and a little sauce and blend it until smooth in the blender. I return the blended sauce to the pot and cook just a little more until heated through. What the blending does is make the sauce a little pinker. I don't like the taste of overcooked sauce so I usually only cook it for an hour to an hour and a half.

I decided to make a version that included sausage, meatballs and a pork bragiole. Many families will make it that way or use pork spare ribs or a beef bragiole.

Sunday Gravy

two 32 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
one 32 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
a big healthy amount of minced garlic
1 onion, very finely diced
olive oil
a pound of meatballs, cooked
3 Italian sausages
1 pork bragiole
crushed red pepper
about 2 teaspoons oregano
about 2 teaspoons basil

Start by searing (high heat) the pork bragiole in olive oil in the bottom of a big pot. When it is done remove it from the heat and fry the sausages. Don't worry about getting things completely cooked, just seared. Remove the sausages from the pan. Reduce the heat and saute the onion and garlic until they turn translucent. Next add your tomatoes. Crush the whole peeled tomatoes either with your hand before putting them in the pot or with a potato masher after they are in the pot. Return the seared meats to the pot along with the meatballs. Add a couple dashes of crushed red pepper, some black pepper, the oregano and basil to the pot.

Bring to a simmer and simmer, uncovered for at least an hour or up to several hours. Stir occasionally. Taste the sauce and add salt as needed. I don't like an overcooked sauce so I usually don't go beyond 2 hours. Add water if needed.

When you are done cooking remove the meats to a platter. Take some of the sauce and tomato chunks and blend in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot and stir until well combined. The blending is an optional step but it makes the sauce a little pinker and creamier. Serve with your favorite pasta.

Our little one's Columbus day feast:

And here are the joys which are yours for the taking should you decide to make Sunday Gravy:

PS - the bragiole is delicious! Shown here with penne pasta.