My mother’s family is Italian. And although I am at least 4 generations removed from anything resembling a Mediterranean shore, I have dark hair thus I claim Italian roots. Along with oily skin, large eyes and short stature, my great-grandmother Accardo passed down her red gravy “recipe.” I use the term “recipe” ever so loosely because it is by no means as organized as the term would imply. Most of her dishes were prepared by memory or from the grocery list she wrote on whatever was handy at the time–envelopes, receipts, report cards etc. This rite is more than simply making the sauce, it’s decoding the “recipe.”
I was exceptionally excited this past New Years (2009-2010) and the 4 day holiday because I had psyched myself up enough to attempt my first true, as a married woman, red gravy. Of course I can’t divulge everything that goes into this sauce–and even if I did, you’d have to de-code what to do with it– but this was a cool picture I took of some of the fixings, and this blog exists so I can put up such pictures:
So after the magic happens, it all goes into a pot and cooks. and cooks.and cooks. My mom always made the meatballs and put them in the sauce while it was cooking, but I tried how my grandmother does it and browned the meatballs first. From what I could tell…it made no difference. It is my sincere hope to one day be able to make this entirely from scratch and make the tomato paste from tomatoes grown in our own garden and not from a can. But my land and money situation is such that I buy the cans, and I’m ok with that.
For my first attempt, it wasn’t bad. My house smelled so divine it didn’t much matter how it tasted. The only tweek I need to make is either how much water I start with or how long I cook it. As a whole the sauce was more runny than I think it should be, but certainly nothing to turn your nose up at. Unless of course you are trying to get a better whif! I do declare that I am bona fide