As a child, my mom and dad would make what we called Spaghetti Sauce. When I first saw Sunday Gravy, I thought that it was the same thing. Not even close ! My mother followed the concepts that so many other Americans follow when they think of Italian cooking. Take some meat, a good amount of onions, celery and such, tomato paste, a lot of water,a bunch of spices and THAT's Italian ! My mom would always add a whole lot of sugar "to cut down the twang". Irish Spaghetti at best, my friend. My mother, through no fault of her own was not a cook.When sauce in a jar came about, homemade spaghetti was a thing of the past. Why spend hours cooking when Ragu was so easy ??
True Sunday Gravy is a tomato sauce that you slow cook a lot of meat in, use minimal vegetables and often no herbs. Spaghetti, incidentally is the name of a pasta shape. Calling any red sauce served on any shape of pasta is kind of like calling a dish butter when it is served on popcorn, butter, fish or toast. With Sunday Gravy the juices from the meat combine with the tomatoes and the magic happens. When it is served in many cases, the meat is taken out and served separate from the sauce, and the sauce is then mixed with pasta. It is AWESOME ! The slow cooking of the meat adds incredible flavor and nourishment to that simple tomato. Sunday Gravy freezes well, gets better with age, and can be made a variety of ways. Every family seems to have it's preference. Here is mine. The meat changes according to what is on sale- in true Italian style of what is available and in season
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
3- 5 lbs assorted beef , lamb or pork- best if it includes some meats on the bones- more if desired
( not chicken or fish- they would turn to rubber with this slow cooking-possibilities include neck bones, short ribs, oxtails - other meats should include some Italian sausage)
4 large cans tomato puree ( I prefer San Marzano tomatoes)
1 T sugar
In as large of a pan you can get your hands on ( stock pot or large pasta cooking pot), sweat the garlic in the oil. Brown your meats and leave any bone meats in the pot. Pour in the tomato sauce, bring to a boil and reduce heat to the lowest flame possible. Cover and let simmer for an hour. (refrigerate remaining browned meats) After an hour ( or two) add the non bone in browned meats , cover and simmer another 2 hrs. It can go all day on a slow simmer- stir occasionally so the bottom does not burn.
After eating this for dinner, cool the sauce down and package into meal sized containers. With the pot I use I am able to get 6 additional meals . So much better than the jar sauce ! Once I tasted the awesome impact of such simple ingredients created with just time, I became hooked on real Italian cooking. I hope that if you try this it will become as life changing for you !