Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"It's Gravy - NOT Sauce"

Kind of a weird choice for my first post, right? If you know me, not so much... if you had the pleasure of being at my admittedly fabulous wedding, you may even remember hearing the above referenced quote come directly from my grandfather's mouth during his rousing and sentimental toast ... You see, in our crazy, hilarious and mildly food obsessed family, we call "red tomato sauce/marinara sauce/spaghetti sauce" .... gravy. No, not the gravy you are thinking of. Not brown turkey gravy. (Yes, I know this brings up the point - "what do you call brown turkey gravy?" ... We call that gravy too... it's complicated) Our "gravy" is delicious tomato gravy with amazing meatballs and spices galore. According to my grandfather "real Italians call it gravy..." I actually don't know if this is true or not as I have heard other Italian-Americans call it both sauce and gravy. So who really knows. But here on this blog, we call it Gravy! With that said.... I present...

Grandma Netta and Grandma Jenny's Homemade Gravy
(I credit both sides of my family as I have taken both of my grandmothers recipes and combined them to my liking... this recipe goes back forever... great great great great grandmother was making some version of this before anyone ever thought about getting on a boat to America)

keep scrolling....

Yea right people I am SO not allowed to give this recipe away... I will leave you with a Marinara Sauce recipe from an Italian I trust... Giada De Laurentis...I have tried this before.. It is super easy and delicious...

Marinara Sauce, by Giada de Laurentiis


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 small onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

I love Giada's recipes becuase they are usually simple but always delicious. This is a great basic GRAVY. If you want to add meatballs, I would use the Veal/Beef/Pork Mix they sell in the grocery store. Just mix it with 1 egg, chopped garlic, a few handfuls of parmesean cheese, breadcrumbs and basil, salt and pepper. Roll them into small balls and fry them on each side in olive oil in a saute pan, but do not cook all the way through. Drop them in your gravy and let them cook while the gravy cooks! You can definitely use ground turkey for a healthier meatball, but I promise, they won't taste as good.

Here are some pictures of my cooking adventures this Sunday...

Gravy cooking away :)

Heart Shaped Polenta Cakes ... I made this from Giada's polenta recipe ... I had some new silicone heart shaped muffin pans (from the dollar bins at Target btw) so instead of regular polenta I made them heart shaped... After you make the polenta just chill it in the fridge for a few hours so it gets firm. Then put it in the muffin pans and place in the oven to heat back up, about 250 degrees ... serve with your favorite gravy and its a great side dish or starter...Would be fun for Valentine's Day

In keeping with the heart shaped theme, I used my heart shaped cookie cutters for the brownies I made for dessert. We will get into my absolute obsession with cookie cutters at a later date. Let's just say that I can make a cookie in pretty much any shape you want.

Stay tuned for more recipes, entertaining ideas and posts from parties I planned in 2009. Have a great week everyone!!


  1. the dollar bin at target is the bestttt. nice blog :)

  2. Let me be the first to welcome you to the blog world Mrs. Fo. I look forward to many more of your cooking adventures in the future.

  3. p.s. i'll add you to my blog now. and you will add me to yours.
    you're welcome. and thank you

  4. Jax - So proud of you!

  5. Aww Jack- look at you and your blog...I can already tell that it will be fabulous and I will tune in all the time. Maybe I will get some inspiration and feel less degraded when I am cooking :)