A few years ago, I took a trip to the east coast with my parents. My dad was going to attend Thrillerfest in New York City, and we decided to make a week of it and stop in Philadelphia for a couple days first. My boss recommended a few restaurants because she is from Pennsylvania, and we were well fed our whole trip.
The most memorable stop was Dante and Luigi’s, the oldest Italian restaurant in Philly. They had a terrific lunch special with a choice of entree, salad, and an option for pasta with “gravy.” Having never heard of this, I opted for something more safe, but my dad, not one to pass up gravy, went for it. It was easily the best thing on the table. Basically, it was a rich, red tomato sauce with tons of meaty flavor, but no meat!
Dad was immediately smitten and began his research on how to purchase this Italian “gravy” for meals at home. They actually sold the stuff in jars, but we weren’t quite up for the hefty shipping fees. So, I began my research on how to prepare my own Italian gravy.
I found several recipes, and after a few years of adaptations, I settled on my own version.
It is quite simple in terms of ingredients and effort. Basically you sear some meats, chop and saute some onions, garlic, and herbs, and add a bit of wine, tomatoes, and stock. What it does take it a bit of time. All day is best.
When I make a pot of gravy, I start either the night before or at least by mid-morning and cook it all day. Then, we have it over some plain pasta with Parmesan and some roasted broccoli. Once we make up a few dishes for lunches through the week, I freeze up the leftovers. My absolute favorite thing to do with the leftovers is to make up an eggplant lasagna. (Recipe coming soon!)
If you have the time, I highly recommend cooking up a batch today! Enjoy!
(makes a ton!)Minimum cook time is 4 hours, but the longer this simmers, the better!
1 pound beef or pork ribs or roast (I use country style pork ribs)