Feasting Before The Feast (Or: Another Sunday Gravy)

Our old friend and neighbor Rob was in town last week and, craving an Amateur Gourmet-cooked meal, swung on over with our friend Luke (am I allowed to say “our Oscar-winning friend” Luke?) on Sunday night. Like a good Italian grandmother, I had a pot simmering on the stove all afternoon and by the time everyone was assembled at the table, my plan to kill everyone with meat was in full effect.

Here’s the thing about Sunday Gravy (see my original post about Sunday Gravy here): it’s not so much a recipe as it is a technique or, perhaps more appropriately, an attitude. You fill a pot with stuff–meatballs (I used this recipe), sausages, pork ribs, whatever–and allow that stuff to enrich a tomato sauce that you make with garlic, tomato paste and several cans of San Marzano tomatoes. This time I used a recipe from Esquire (see here) but again, it’s not about the recipe. It’s just a sequence: brown your meat in batches, set it all aside, in that same pot cook onions, garlic, tomato paste (allow that paste to brown a bit), add your tomatoes and bring it all to a simmer. Then add back the slowest cooking meat (that would be the pork ribs) and let that simmer for an hour; then add in the sausages and let it simmer another hour; finally add in the meatballs, let it simmer an hour more and you’ve got gravy.

This is what we’re talking about:


And when it’s time to serve, you transfer all the meat to a platter and then cook up a box or two of penne in salted boiling water. Add the penne with a spider to the pot of leftover sauce and, with the heat still on, stir it all around and let that sauce soak in. Off the heat, add big handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan and serve that up:


Then bring on the meat!


As this post illustrates, feasts aren’t limited to national holidays. The idea is that you cook an obscene amount of food, pour an obscene amount of wine and treat what seems like an ordinary night–in this case, a Sunday night–like a special occasion. So consider feasting before the feast this Sunday with a Sunday gravy. That big pile of sausages, pork ribs and meatballs makes turkey look like a chump.

Let's dish!

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