February 7, 2010

Italian gravy ...

For as long as I can remember I could always open our freezer to find 8-10 little, square, plastic containers filled with gravy. No, not that brown gunk that people slather on potatoes, Italian gravy - a.k.a. sauce.  My mother has always been known for her exceptional recipe. My friends loved to have dinner with us on Macaroni Night. The Soccio family gravy has evolved quite a bit over the years. It originated in Potenza, Italy, my grandmother's hometown. She and my mother both made changes where they saw fit. Sometimes using pork instead of steak, sometimes sausage and steak and sometimes all three. They would occasionally try different brands of tomatoes or the addition of sugar - but the basics remained the same. I started making the family gravy about 5 or 6 years ago and I have tried plenty of versions in this short span. No matter what I switch out or add in it is always 'wipe your dish clean with your bread' DELICIOUS.

This is the recipe for my usual and very easy to make GRAVY. Here is what you'll need:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (the more you spend the better it tastes but I use whatever I have that week)
3 medium or 2 large onions
Garlic - anywhere from 5 - 10 cloves depending on your preference - I say the more the better!
1 lb hot Italian sausage (cut into chunks or leave links whole - your choice)
1 lb sweet Italian sausage (cut into chunks or leave links whole - your choice)
6 28 oz cans of All Purpose Crushed Tomatoes (I prefer the Cento brand)
2 8 oz cans of Tomato sauce (I prefer the Contadina brand)
1-2 Sticks of Pepperoni (sliced or diced)
Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Basil, Bay Leaves
Parmesan Cheese
Big, giant stock pot
10 - 12 freezable containers

Coat the bottom of the pot with Olive Oil - over medium heat.
Dice onions and grate or mince up the garlic and add it to the pot.
Be careful not to let your garlic burn or it will ruin the flavor and you'll have to start over!
Add sausage and pepperoni - I like to brown up the sausage before adding the tomatoes.
Give it a good stir and you may want to drain some of the fat - or keep it for flavor - your choice.

Add in your tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Fill the 8 oz tomato sauce can with water twice and add to the pot.
Add salt and pepper, add a couple of fresh bay leaves or some dried.
Sprinkle in some oregano but don't be too liberal - it can overpower the gravy.

Let the gravy simmer on very low heat for at least 6 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so (to prevent the bottom from burning).

In the last few minutes add basil (fresh is best but dried works) and a generous sprinkle of Parmesan or Romano cheese.

This is going to make about 10-12, 12oz containers that I will store in the freezer for easy thawing. It is a huge plus to have these on hand when you are craving a good Italian meal any night of the week.

Mmmmmmm ... always a crowd pleaser. Hope you like it!


  1. Yum, I gotta try that. Thanks!
    - Tim N., N. Providence.


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