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Sunday Red Gravy or Sugo


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#1 Paul Bacino

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 07:01 AM

I am always interested in others recipes, please add your thoughts , comments and your own recipe.

Sunday gravy for us is a long cooked tomato red sauce with braised meats, called Sugo ( at least for me ). I usually cook mine for hrs, 4 or more for sure, but I like to turn mine off and on and often serve it a day later. Our usual recipe starts with , canned sauces, I think whole hand squeezed tomato, get lost in a long cook. I reserve that for quick cooking.

1 29 Oz Hunts Sauce
1 6 Oz Hunts Paste
Plus one large can of water!!

Now stating that, I have used whole tomatoes too. Carmelina, Bella Terra, Battaglia, La Squisita. The one thing about making the sauce is having fun in the kitchen on Sat or Sunday.

So this gets the red sauce cooking in its own pot, Now In a fry pan, I begin to brown my meat and cook my aromatics . I like the combination of a pork part and beef, preferable with some nice bone product. My friend suggests I try using Pigs feet. Here is a good go to

2-3 Beef Short Ribs
3 Pork Neck bones or feather bones or country rib

Brown these real well on all sides, add to pot.

Aromatics now in the pan

1/2 yellow diced onion cook first, till soft then below
3-4 cloves of garlic minced fine

I like to use alot of olive oil. which helps flavor the sauce. Cook the above, add to pot, and deglaze the pan, I use what ever wine I have .. red or white.

Seasoning the sauce: I add by eye so sorry on any amounts. So lets say Table spoon of ea. ( Yikes ). I like to keep it simple because its about the braised beef and you don't need to get to crazy here, but that's up to you

Sugar
Black Pepper
Italian Seasoning- bulk buy crap!! Not always done-- but this is the basic idea
Salt-- this just depends on how it tastes. I tend to add anise to mine.. either seed of star.
Red Pepper Flakes

This is the basic, which you can deviate from any time.

To this basic, You add meatballs ( another post ) and sausage ( another post ). What the sausage adds to the flavor is a bit of fennel flavor.

Cheers.

Hope I didn't miss anything. Now off to shower

Best wishes and Happy New Yr!!

Paul
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#2 Jaymes

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 07:29 AM

This looks really good.

But I do find it interesting that you add the tomato paste at the beginning of a long cooking process. I was always told that tomato paste gets bitter as it cooks, and you should always add it toward the end.

I note you add sugar.

Do you find the tomato paste gets bitter? Does the sugar offset it?
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#3 Paul Bacino

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:01 AM

Yes Jaymes,

Sugar sweetens the pot, a bit, in this long cook.

Again, with this type of family style cooking it changes with the mood I'm in. Sometimes its no paste, sometimes is whole squeezed crushed and processed tomatoes.

Paul
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#4 gfweb

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 08:02 AM

I tend to "toast" the paste until its a little browned in spots and then add it late.

#5 Paul Bacino

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 09:42 AM

Gfweb,

I will toast my paste sometimes too , but if I do its usually in the beginning and goes right into the sauce.

Also I will add the browned bones and finish toasting both together.. just depends on my mood

Thanks for the ideas!!

Paul

Edited by Paul Bacino, 25 January 2011 - 09:46 AM.

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#6 Paul Bacino

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 05:50 AM

I am surprised.. no one has a Family recipe, they care to share.. something passed on from Nonna ? :hmmm: :sad:

Maybe I didn't ask, but if you care to share one, great.

Best any way.

Paul

My recipe might not be, technically correct, but is what was learned in grandma's kitchen to the best of my knowledge.

Here is our family store!! Lost with the growth of the SUPERMARKET.

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Edited by Paul Bacino, 26 January 2011 - 06:29 AM.

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#7 rooftop1000

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 06:53 AM

I was in my early 20s before I hear anyone call sauce "gravy" and it was my "former" M-I-L, So I assumed she was crazy LOL.

Her gravy involved frying the tomato paste then adding chunks of beef and pork to the pot to brown. She added chunks of stick peperoni, fresh garlic, dried oregano, I assume salt and pepper (actually it was so salty I almost choked the first time).
Canned tomato puree went in and was cooked for a few hours then meatballs and both sweet and hot sausage were run through the broiler and then added.
Around lunchtime my husband would start eating the peperoni out of the pot folded in slices of white bread or the bakery rolls left from breakfast.

Dinner was around 3pm and included bakery bread, pasta, the meat platter, and iceberg lettuce, cucumber, and tomato salad with Good Seasons packet dressing.

I tried a few times to get the balance correct but havent tried the whole deal in a long time.

Our local Shoprite Supermarket actually sells a "gravy pack" of meat...a couple of chunks of meat, a hot and a sweet sausage, and a bracciole.


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#8 Paul Bacino

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 08:03 AM

Interesting Tracey,

The use of peperoni was something that never crossed my mine. That is the interesting stuff I hope to see in this thread.

Best wishes and Ciao Ciao

Paul

Edited by Paul Bacino, 26 January 2011 - 08:04 AM.

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#9 Shelby

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 08:03 AM

Does anyone ever add carrot or onions to their gravy? I find a bit of carrot sweetens up the sauce along with the sugar.

#10 llc45

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 08:18 AM

I always add onion and recently added a little shredded carrots after seeing Mario Batali do it. I am not Italian. My FIL's parents were from northern Italy and, while I did learn how to make risotto from him, he never made Sunday gravy. I have just learned from trial and error. For me, there is no recipe. The thing that really improved mine was a switch to San Marzano tomatoes. My FIL laughs at this but I really do notice a difference when I don't have them on hand.

#11 Shelby

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 08:33 AM

I always add onion and recently added a little shredded carrots after seeing Mario Batali do it. I am not Italian. My FIL's parents were from northern Italy and, while I did learn how to make risotto from him, he never made Sunday gravy. I have just learned from trial and error. For me, there is no recipe. The thing that really improved mine was a switch to San Marzano tomatoes. My FIL laughs at this but I really do notice a difference when I don't have them on hand.

*high five* on the tomatoes. I will only use my homegrown canned tomatoes (or fresh if it's summertime) OR, if I'm out of those, I'll use San Marzano. If I don't have those, then I won't make gravy.

#12 JeanneCake

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:16 AM

My nana didn't have a recipe, just a routine. I think everyone has a similar one - hers started with sauteed cloves of garlic in olive oil (but not til they were brown, just golden) then she added tomato paste and then puree (it was a big deal if a supermarket had a sale on Pastene tomatoes!!!) and then everything else but the kitchen sink it seemed would find a way in. She cooked the meatballs (which I was tasked with rolling - there's a picture in the family album of me at 3 or 4 in a high chair pushed up to the kitchen table, with the bowl of meat, a bowl of water and a plate of meatballs), sausage, bracciole, pork, etc separate and piled it all in. This was on Saturday and then after church on Sunday, she'd reheat it and we'd sit down to dinner at some point in the afternoon.

And while it was heating, anyone would come along and pick out something and put it in the bread just like rooftop1000 mentions!!!!

#13 Paul Bacino

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:05 AM

Wow.

Great to see some responses to the tread, for me making Sunday sauce/gravy , brings back so many memories of sitting at Nonna's .

We used to add bay leaf to our recipe too, and he who got, helped clean up in the kitchen.

Ciao Ciao

Edited by Paul Bacino, 27 January 2011 - 10:06 AM.

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#14 Shelby

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:51 AM

Wow.

Great to see some responses to the tread, for me making Sunday sauce/gravy , brings back so many memories of sitting at Nonna's .

We used to add bay leaf to our recipe too, and he who got, helped clean up in the kitchen.

Ciao Ciao

He who gets it here, doesn't have to clean the kitchen! :biggrin:

#15 Jaymes

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 12:19 PM

Does anyone ever add carrot or onions to their gravy? I find a bit of carrot sweetens up the sauce along with the sugar.


Mama Leone's used to be a very famous, and excellent Italian restaurant. In 1967, her son, Gene, wrote a cookbook with many of the restaurant's best recipes, and someone gave it to me as a wedding gift.

Most of the recipes were pretty long and involved, but all were excellent.

Mama Leone put carrots into her red sauces for that very reason - adds a touch of sweetness. So I've always done it as well.

Leone's Italian Restaurant Cookbook

Edited by Jaymes, 27 January 2011 - 12:20 PM.

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#16 ambra

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 12:45 PM

We brown the meat on a high heat and remove. Saute onions and garlic in the same pan. Sometimes add wine, sometimes don't. Add tomatoes. I use only Pelati and nothing more. I don't like tomato paste or puree in my sauce because the taste totally changes after such a long cooking time. Bring to boil. Add back meat. I use a can or so of water, salt, red and/or black pepper. Sugar only if the tomatoes are particularly acidy. Most of the time it gets added. I am a purist so I don't really add many other herbs and spicies. Actually none.

The meat is usually country ribs or baby rack ribs (because where I live now, country ribs are not available)and one or more of the following: Braciole, Sausage without fennel and Meatballs.

In days past we used some of the meatball grease to flavor the sauce. Haven't done that in ages because I've been using very lean beef.

Sauce usually served over (sometimes homemade) orecchiette with grated Pecorino Romano on top. I'm not a fan of Pecorino so I use Parmigiano.


We have another version where we use straight up stew meat. And for this version we brown the meat and remove. Grate onion, carrot and celery into a pan, saute til soft add tomato puree and a can of water. Bring up to a Simmer, Add meat, and cook until meat is soft. This isn't Sunday sugo, it's just meat flavored tomato sauce!

#17 Paul Bacino

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 02:03 PM

Anyone ever ..just put your meatballs in raw? No stirring of the pot, just a wee giggle. My friends family recipe called for him to do it that way.

Just want to make sure the meat you have in the pot, has some good bone marrow, too.

Sweet stuff.

Edited by Paul Bacino, 27 January 2011 - 02:03 PM.

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#18 suzilightning

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 11:02 AM

absolutely on putting the raw meatballs in to cook. learned that from Adrianna Trigiana.

grated carrot instead of sugar though my mom used to use sweet and low - never liked that.
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#19 Shelby

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 02:18 PM


Does anyone ever add carrot or onions to their gravy? I find a bit of carrot sweetens up the sauce along with the sugar.


Mama Leone's used to be a very famous, and excellent Italian restaurant. In 1967, her son, Gene, wrote a cookbook with many of the restaurant's best recipes, and someone gave it to me as a wedding gift.

Most of the recipes were pretty long and involved, but all were excellent.

Mama Leone put carrots into her red sauces for that very reason - adds a touch of sweetness. So I've always done it as well.

Leone's Italian Restaurant Cookbook

Awesome! I'm not alone in the carrot-adding world. :smile:


I've also thrown diced celery in at times...it just depends on how vegetable-y I want the sauce.

edited to add that I purchased this cookbook on Amazon--can't wait to get it! Thanks for showing it to me!

Edited by Shelby, 28 January 2011 - 02:25 PM.


#20 Shelby

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 02:21 PM

Anyone ever ..just put your meatballs in raw? No stirring of the pot, just a wee giggle. My friends family recipe called for him to do it that way.

Just want to make sure the meat you have in the pot, has some good bone marrow, too.

Sweet stuff.

I've dropped my meatballs in raw before and they cook up beautifully. However, when I make meatballs, I always make a big batch so I can freeze them. Thus, I end up baking them in the oven because my raw balls don't freeze well...(no snickering lol). Maybe because I use venison and it doesn't have as much fat?

#21 Jaymes

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 02:38 PM



Does anyone ever add carrot or onions to their gravy? I find a bit of carrot sweetens up the sauce along with the sugar.


Mama Leone's used to be a very famous, and excellent Italian restaurant. In 1967, her son, Gene, wrote a cookbook with many of the restaurant's best recipes, and someone gave it to me as a wedding gift.

Most of the recipes were pretty long and involved, but all were excellent.

Mama Leone put carrots into her red sauces for that very reason - adds a touch of sweetness. So I've always done it as well.

Leone's Italian Restaurant Cookbook

edited to add that I purchased this cookbook on Amazon--can't wait to get it! Thanks for showing it to me!


It's a really wonderful book. But very old school, so be prepared.

Edited to add: Did you read these reviews?

It's really a beloved book.

Edited by Jaymes, 28 January 2011 - 03:22 PM.

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#22 pax

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 05:25 PM

I'm Irish American. Good red sauce didn't exist in my world until I discovered Marcella Hazan.

Meatballs are slow cooked in the oven just until they hit 170, then cooled and frozen. I pop however many I need into the sauce to thaw. I find if I try to cook them raw they just fall apart.

My mother makes sausage and meatball and puts jarred salsa in it. Oh, the shame! ; ) You can see why I needed Marcella.
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#23 JBailey

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 09:04 AM

As for sugar in the sauce, I find this to be a nice addition. Perhaps because our family was generationally a sugar on fresh tomatoes and stewed tomatoes family instead of salt on tomatoes, it was natural that I gravitated to adding sugar to my sauce experiments.

Also Paul, I noted you brown your meat in a separate pan. I sauté my onions in the pan, then brown my meat in the same pan to which I eventually add the jarred sauces, tomatoes, spices and paste. My instinct, perhaps misguided, is that the meat flavors stay in the pan giving a even more flavorful sauce. I will however drain or spoon off the majority of excess liquids and fats before adding the jar sauce.

While I use ground beef for the most part, I have been experimenting with adding pork, lamb and ground veal with one of these other meat types now generally finding its way into my pan. Adding short rib meat or back ribs or browned bones certainly gives pause for thought!
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#24 Paul Bacino

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 12:27 PM

J..

I guess a few reasons for two pans

1) Yes to remove, excess fat. I'm not sure exactly if that helps much.. but that's my hopes, along with baking my meatballs to help render the fat a bit.

2) Also.. I know i don't have any of that good fond left on the bottom, I remove the fat, sometimes even with a light swip form a paper towel.. I deglaze with wine.. and I like to reduce that too.
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#25 joesan

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 07:55 AM

Paul - I really like the look of your family store. What a shame it is now closed. I bet you had some nice memories of there. We lose a lot when these type of enterprises go under. It will be horrible if all we have left eventually are massive stores and overly-designed boutique type stores.

I was wondering why you start with factory made sauces? From your own ingredient list there seems more than enough flavourful items to get an excellent sugo without it. We also called the sauce sugo. Our household uses a similar method to yours but we don't use sugar preferring to get the sweetness from onions, and occassionaly a small amount of carrots.

When we do a long cook it's also great to add rolled beef - thin slices of beef rolled around a raw garlic, parsley and black peppercorn stuffing. Because the pot is on a long time you can use cheaper, flavourful cuts of meat as they soften nicely anyway.

#26 Paul Bacino

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 12:08 PM

Joesan..

I bet I'm a product of a family grocery store.. we got what we got and grandma must have used more of that type of can stuff. btw.. I put up my fair share of fresh produce in the summer and canning/jarring plum tomatoes is included.

I was talking to another individual about sugo and gravy.. its fuuny though my grandma never used "pasta and sauce/sugo " it was always " Macaroni and Gravy "

Thanks for adding to the thread..

Paul

Also it is a fond memory of the store :sad:
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#27 joesan

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 01:18 AM

I've haven't yet tried canning/jarring tomatoes - so I'm jealous. When I was in Italy last summer we saw people jarring tomatoes over wood fires. Can you imagine the smokey deliciousness of those?

I see in the window of your grandma's shop that they had fresh home made Italian sausage. I bet they were good. I must say I'd love to make my own salsiccia but am a bit daunted by the prospect. I've made my own guanciale. It's super easy to do and makes a great addition to the sugo.

#28 LindaK

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 06:54 AM

I've haven't yet tried canning/jarring tomatoes - so I'm jealous. When I was in Italy last summer we saw people jarring tomatoes over wood fires. Can you imagine the smokey deliciousness of those?


They can't compete with the homemade product, but you can find fire-roasted canned tomatoes by Muir Glen (sometimes I see them at Trader Joe's too). The mild smokiness adds an extra dimension to a red sauce that I like, and is especially welcome when I'm not adding any meat.


 


#29 joesan

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 06:57 AM

Thanks for the tip Linda. I'm in the UK so I'm not sure if we can get them here. Maybe I should take a look in Whole Foods? Mild smokiness sounds perfect!

#30 LindaK

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 07:14 AM

At least in the states, I find the Muir Glen brand at Whole Foods. They're a little pricy for canned tomatoes but the quality is good. When they go on sale I pick up a lot.