by Beth

There has been a debate in my marriage for as long as we’ve been together. Sunday Sauce….or Sunday Gravy?!  I call it sauce…my Irish grandma would boil away a vat of red deliciousness almost every Sunday.  I remember my Pop and Dad sneaking tastes throughout the day. Fast forward to when I met my Italian husband and the great debate was born.

My husband insists on calling my sauce gravy….and I cannot accept it. However, Webster’s Dictionary says a gravy is made from the juices of cooked meat.  There’s so much meat in it that a spoon can stand straight up.So, I guess my sauce could be called a gravy, but don’t tell him I said that!

I’ll share my recipe and let you decide: Sauce or Gravy?! Keep reading for the full recipe! Comment below to share your thoughts on our Great Debate!! 

I used the following ingredients:

6 various 28 oz cans of tomatoes from my pantry (crushed, diced, puree etc work best)
1 quart of water
1 package of Hatfield Sweet ground sausage out of the casing
1 package of Hatfield Spicy ground sausage out of the casing
1.5 pounds 80/20 ground beef
sausage links (I used both sweet and spicy)
3 heaping tablespoons Italian Seasoning
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1-2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes (optional, but really yummy)
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Pesto (to taste)

Begin by browning the ground sausage and beef. Drain some of the fat and liquid that forms from cooking the meat. You don’t need to get it all; it serves as flavor (mmmm sausage fat). It will be easy to skim the rest off the top after it cooks for a while.

After the meat is browned, add the Italian Seasoning. Heat until fragrant…about a minute or so.

Add your tomato, water, red pepper flakes, minced garlic and sausage links. Heat until boiling. Reduce heat to simmer. As the sauce simmers you MUST, MUST, MUST stir it. every commercial break, every time you are in the kitchen, set a timer…just stir it often. And scrape up the bottom when you stir otherwise it’ll burn. Burnt sauce is as good as garbage. There are a few was to doctor up a burnt sauce, but it’ll never right. So do yourself a favor and stir. Also keep it at a bubble. You have water in it so it has to cook out and a moving sauce won’t burn so fast. Do this until the sauce has reduced by 2 to 3 inches ( you’ll see the crust ring around the pot, that’s your reference line). It’ll take a good 2 to 3 hours.

Resist the urge to add salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese or pesto until the sauce reduces. The Parmesan and Pesto will burn your sauce and cause it to stick to the bottom. Adding salt and pepper to soon and you could make it too salty once it reduces.

After it has reduced and you can stand a spoon up in your pot you need to turn it off and add your cheese and pesto. Let it stand cover on your stove for an hour to let everything marry up and for the sauce to settle.

Now I have a vat of “gravy” that’ll make at least 6 meals. I always send some home to my mom and freeze the rest for later. It’s great on all different pasta, chicken parm, homemade pizza, pizza subs etc. Its super thick, and very meaty. Most of the meal was made with groceries I bought at Aldi’s. Besides the cans of tomatoes that I bought during Shoprite’s Can Can sale, everything else was purchased at Aldi’s.