Gravy…about the only thing this has to do with BBQ is that they’re both cooked low and slow, but this recipe is worth sharing, so here goes.
Now you might call it tomato sauce, or spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce or even red sauce, but in my house it’s simply gravy; and there are a lot of Italian Americans out there who would agree with me. There are almost as many ways to make gravy as there are names for it, and everyone thinks their mother’s is the best, but I’m going to show you how I do it.
First I start with some Hot Italian Sausage. I got these beauties from Bianco and Sons in Revere, MA.
The first thing to do is brown them on all sides.
Then take the sausage out and set them aside covered on a plate. You’ll notice that the bottom of the pan contains a lot of nice crispy little pieces stuck there. In culinary circles, this is call the ‘fond’, and you definitely don’t want to waste that deliciousness!
So we’ll deglaze with a nice red wine. Here’s a tip; don’t cook with any wine you wouldn’t drink. The flavor will concentrate, and concentrated bad equals…well, you know what I mean.
Now, turn the heat down and add a dash of olive oil, a mirepoix and some minced garlic. Notice how I leave the garlic on top for a while until things get going and I’m ready to stir. This is because garlic has a tendency to burn and I want to make sure the temperature comes down a bit before it comes in contact with the pan.
Did I hear someone ask, “what the heck is mirepoix?” OK, I’ll back up a bit. Mirepoix (pronounced meer-PWAH) is a mixture of two parts onion, one part carrot and one part celery. It’s the base of many fine recipes and provides a depth of flavor to soups, stews, sauces, etc. It looks like this on the cutting board.
Back to business…season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and stir occasionally until everything is tender. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes on low.
This is what they’ll look like when they’re done.
While the veggies are cooking, we’ll get the other ingredients together. Peeled tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and the secret ingredient, chicken stock.
I put the peeled tomatoes in a mixing bowl and crush them with a potato masher, but you can use your blender if you prefer. I like the chunky texture that the masher produces.
When your vegetables are nice and tender, add the crushed tomatoes to the pan.
The the tomato sauce
then a can full of chicken stock,
and the tomato paste. I open both ends of the can so I can use the bottom of the can to push out the paste.
Finally, the sausage goes back into the pot.
Now, the most important part. Simmer for four hours, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken and the vegetables will become super tender. The acidity of the tomatoes will be cooked out and you’ll be rewarded for your patience with a thick, savory, delicious gravy. Mangia!!!