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Sauce Vs Gravy: Sunday Gravy, Soprano’s Style


Sauce Vs Gravy:

Soprano’s Family Cookbook on Amazon

“Can I just get some macaroni and gravy?” ~Paulie, as his most-uncultured self, expresses his distaste for authentic Italian cuisine when dining in Italy.~

“When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie That’s amore” ~Dean Martin~

I grew up in South Philly, and like many do, you adapt to your environment. I grew up adapting to gravy, NOT spaghetti sauce. Don’t even try this argument in South Philly, you won’t win. I grew up leaning about Sunday family dinners, cooking and freezing gravy and other dishes for later use, the proper way to prepare/serve Italian/American meals, and some meals that are authentically Italian.

“I’ve always loved what is referred to as Sunday Gravy” You can Google and find the recipe online. Or you can buy the “Soprano’s Family Cookbook” I linked at the top of this page.

Here is MY variation of the recipe:

Sunday Gravy with Meatballs: (and other meaty goodness)
(I make enough to use for a few different dishes, for a few days and freeze half to use another day (maybe 2 weeks later). Good in the freezer for about a month, and super easy when you don’t feel like cooking! Now the gravy takes all day to cook! But you make enough of it, to make it worth your time and effort!)

I make a HUGE batch, I use a 12qt pot, you can easily cut this recipe in half, and still have enough to freeze half.
For the Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 lbs meaty meaty boneless pork ribs (most use pork on the bone, I like to eat the pork ribs later)
6 hot Italian sausages (and 6 sweet if everyone doesn’t like spicy)
3-4  garlic cloves
1 8oz can tomato paste
3 28 ounce cans peeled/crushed Italian tomatoes (I prefer to buy them crushed, otherwise crush them before cooking, if I do this I do it in a large mixing bowl by hand)

2 28oz cans tomato puree
1 tbs red hot pepper seeds (omit if you don’t like spicy)
2 cups water
A bunch of whole fresh basil leaves (I suggest removing them after cooking)

For the Meatballs

 2.5lb ground beef (or combination of beef or pork)
1 cup plain breadcrumbs (I season mine salt, pepper, garlic powder)
4 large eggs
2 ts finely minced garlic
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
4 Tbs finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (or 6 TB dried)
1 teaspoon salt
1 ts black pepper

2 tbs olive oil


To start the sauce, heat the oil in a large heavy pot 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.

Place the sausages in the pot and brown on all sides.

Put the sausages aside with the pork.

Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes or until golden.

Remove and put aside with meats (or discard, I like to add it back into the gravy)

Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

Add all of your canned tomatoes and puree

Add the water; and salt and pepper, seasonings to taste.

Add the pork and sausages, garlic, and basil and bring the sauce to a simmer.

Partially cover the pot and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.

If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more water.

Meanwhile, make the meatballs: Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl.

Do not over mix or your meatballs will become tough!

Rinse your hands with cool water and lightly shape the mixture into 2 inch balls. ( I wear latex gloves when I make the mixture, and shape the meatballs)

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet.

Add the meatballs and brown them well on all sides.

add the meatballs to the gravy once it has simmered for two hours, cook meatballs in the gravy for 30mins
Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce. ( A tip from Raulphi: Drain pasta, toss back into pot, add pat of butter, gravy, stir on medium heat for 45 seconds. this allows the sauce to absorb into your pasta)

Serve with meats on the side.




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