Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Italian Gravy

It's fall....so I'm wanting to cook things that take all day. A family favorite for us is Italian Gravy...also known as sugo or sauce. This recipe was sitting on a cabinet at my daughter's violin lesson. I would glance at it one week and decide I didn't need to copy it and could figure it out and remember on my own. It was still there the next week, so I decided that I would copy it somewhat and see what happened when I made it. I have no idea how close it is to the original (and I'm not even sure who was passing it along). The result was my version...probably a bit different from that typed copy at violin lessons but it has turned into a favorite.

I was feeling really crazy last spring and made a huge batch (6 times the recipe!!!) of this after a visit to the warehouse club. This multiple batch allowed me to use the large can of diced tomatoes and the large can of tomato sauce sold there. Also, that worked with the bulk Italian sausage packages sold there as well. Today I didn't work and decided to make a single batch because my freezer is full of produce from the summer. I would probably make a large batch again at the end of winter when I have more freezer space but a single recipe often makes enough for me to freeze some anyway. We can eat this nearly every night without getting tired of it, so maybe I won't have any left for the freezer.

My daughter isn't a tomato fan. She really won't even eat ketchup or pizza sauce, so she eats plain noodles on the night we have this. But, she will admit that even plain noodles taste better after the smell of Italian Gravy is in the house.

I'm not sure why it is called gravy rather than sauce or sugo..maybe because it takes all day to simmer? Whatever you want to call it...it's tasty!!

I don't think you can go wrong with this recipe, so experiment away.

Italian Gravy:

1T olive oil
1 lb each sweet and hot Italian sausage
2 onions, chopped
12 garlic cloves, minced
2t dried oregano
6 oz tomato paste
1/2 red wine
28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
28 oz can tomato sauce
chicken breast or two
1-2T dried basil

I heat the olive oil and then add the onions. Usually I use yellow onions, but I did use one large red onion this time (that's what I had). Then I add the garlic and the other ingredients. Sometimes I use bulk sausage or take it out of the casing. Sometimes I cut the links into 1-2 inch pieces and sometimes I throw the links in whole. i really don't think this recipe can be bad!! For the red wine, I usually use Trader Joe's infamous 2 buck chuck. let everything simmer as long as I can stirring on occasion and breaking up the chicken breast as the day goes on.

My grandma was partial to imported (not domestic) Pecorino Romano cheese...that's the best way to top the noodles and gravy!

This is one of those recipes that is better if it sits a day or two before serving.

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