How did this term “gravy” originate?
This explanation has apparently been adapted to explain that a spaghetti topping cooked with meat is called gravy and a topping made with other ingredients and no meat, such as Pesto or Alfredo, is called sauce.
Well, I’m glad that’s settled.
South Philly native and Philadelphia radio/TV personality and author Lorraine Ranalli wrote a book called “Gravy Wars” about this inexhaustible cultural conflict…when I finish reading it, I’ll write a review! In my family, we always called it gravy since my Italian grandmom made hers with meatballs, sausage and, if she really liked us that week, braciole.
So, this discussion is only useful if I tell you how to make this traditional Italian favorite:
* Olive Oil
* 1 medium onion, diced
* Garlic, 4 (or 6 or 8) cloves, minced
* 1 can each of tomato puree, sauce and paste
* 1 puree can full of water
* 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
* 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano
* 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
* Brown sugar, about two tablespoons (I find this mellows the acidity of the tomatoes)
Brown the meat -- homemade meatballs and pork sausage made with parsley and romano cheese -- in a large pan. Once browned, remove and set aside…juices will flow to the bottom of the bowl.
In the same pan in which you browned the meat (do not wash it!), sauté the onions and garlic until a bit brown.
Add the puree, sauce and paste and the water and give the mixture a good swirl until the paste dissolves.
Add the spices, sugar and salt.
Add the meat with the juices and simmer for at least three hours.
I started my gravy at 11:34 a.m. and we did not eat until after 5:00 p.m.....and that's how it's done. This may have been my best batch ever. I served the gravy on fresh pasta accompanied by my house red wine, Cantina Zaccagnini.
Youngest daughter loves spaghetti and meatballs so I made her a special dinner for her last weekend home before heading off to the Honors Program at the University of Delaware next Saturday...she will do amazing things, trust me! Mom, sister, older daughter and her BF came to say "see you later."
Where did the time go?