Thursday, March 22, 2007

Let's Make Gravy!

Let's Mambo Italiano! You wanna make-a some gravy? I have a pot on the stove and will share my recipe here. It's from my father in law, Mike Stagliano, who was a phenomenal cook. I miss him.

6 cans Imported Italian Tomatoes - SAN MARZANO STYLE (this is a must. San Marzano's are expensive and worth the money) You can get a huge can if the NINA brand at Costco for a few bucks or you can find other brands at stores for as much as $5.00 a small can! Don't skimp here. It's tomato sauce, the tomatoes matter.)

1 tube of tomato paste. I use Amore brand imported from Italy, it has the best flavor. Use what you can find. Use two of the tiny cans if you buy Contadina. Have a third on hand in case you need to boost the flavor at the end.

1 package short ribs or pork chops (with bone) or ground meatloaf mix of beef/pork and veal. Pick your favorite or none if you prefer meatless gravy

4 HUGE sweet onions, softball sized. Onions = flavor

2 bay leaves

A dash of red pepper flakes

Kosher salt (best for cooking)

4 cloves garlic, sliced not pressed! That injures the cells.

Olive oil

OK - coat the bottom of a large dutch oven with oil. Gently heat. Add sliced garlic. Cook garlic over low heat to get the flavor into the oil. DO NOT BROWN the garlic. Garlic, once burned, ruins the gravy. Remove garlic from pan.

Increase heat and add your meat. Brown the heck out of it. Let it stick to the bottom of the pan. There's flavor in them thar burnt bits! Remove the meat.

Add the onions, the red pepper flakes (I use only about 12 flakes) the bay leaves and the salt. Keep the heat going and brown the onions. Keep scraping the yummies off the bottom of the pan and leave them!

After the onions cook for a good thirty minutes add back your meat and now your tomatoes. If you use 6 cans add 5 cans of water. If you use the giant Costco can add 3/4 full water.

Squeeze in your 4.5 ounce tube of tomato paste.

Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. The tomato acid will foam - scoop off the foam as you go. Allow to boil for an hour, keep stirring, don't let it burn. Lower heat and cook at a low bubble for 4 hours. NO LID ON THE POT!

Keep stirring to break down the tomatoes. Add salt to taste. If it seems blah at the end add a can of tomato paste.

Buon Appetito!


AhvaRahn said...

Italian secrets? Now this is a welcome surprise!

Kim Stagliano said...

Yes, far yummier than a dead gambler in the back room of Vinnie's bar and grill, yes? Although, fellow Bostonian, have you seen The Departed? You folks from the old sod have your gang'ish ways too, eh? I am fortunate enough to share both gene pools!

AhvaRahn said...

Yes, The Departed. I love Jack, but Jack was being Jack. I actually walked onto the set, Charles Street, when they were making that movie; it’s a long story, or it is when I tell it. But in short, I was there, and Scorsese was working. Just for the laugh, I felt like saying in me thick northern Irish sing-song, “No, no Marty, you doing it all wrong. It’s like this…” as if I would know. I didn’t though.

My wife likes when I cook, and I have always been a bit of a cooky person (in the kitchen sense, but feel free to apply other interpretations liberally), so we’ll try your father-in-law’s recipe one of these days. Take care.

Anonymous said...

just like my recipe that has been in my family for like decades. but try this sometime, before you add the tomatoes-add garlic and about a cup of white wine. it does things-crazy good things.

Anonymous said...

ok-I just read your profile. I freaking LOVED Yaz. hilarious. How awesome is Upstairs at Erics? ah the memories.....

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim - Thank you for this delicious recipe - it came out just like my grandma used to make - really! We always cook the pork in the sauce and skip the meatballs. I have one son "on the spectrum" and we are "on the diet". He loved it with his rice macaroni. I did have one close call - I almost contaminated the whole pot of sauce with the fork I used for the pasta!

Kim Stagliano said...

Yaz - I admit it. Still dance around my kitchen when a Yaz tunes comes on Sirius 22 1st Wave.

White wine? Worth a try.Especially if I employ the Julia Child method.

Glad your son liked it. It's easy to make a HUGE pot and freeze it.