Italian Sunday Gravy

Sunday Gravy

Italian gravy on pasta with Italian sausage on top.

Every Italian American household has a version Sunday Gravy sauce and everyone will tell you theirs is the best. We all guard the recipe with our lives so don’t expect to see one here, but what I will give you is the story of one of the most treasured family traditions and a few tips on how to get it done. And if you don’t want to cook your own, PASTA REA sells it by the quart so just give us a call.

Sunday Gravy is more Italian American than Italian and features generous portions of beef or veal, pork, and sausage. Most Italian families who immigrated from the old country rarely prepared recipes with beef. Once they settled in the states and prospered financially, beef became more of a staple ingredient and you will often find beef braciola included in many recipes. Our family’s gravy relies on the flavors of the family meatball recipe which includes quality pork shoulder and handmade sausage.

Sunday Gravy is so much more than just another day’s meal. Typically the sauce was placed on a slow simmer for hours early in the day. The Sunday meal was usually served around 2:00 in the afternoon. While the gravy simmered on the stove various family members would arrive to the house in anticipation of the meal allowing us time to catch up on the past week’s activities. The house would fill with the aroma of garlic, garden fresh tomatoes and basil. Of course the gravy had to be tested for quality insurance. This process would include a small plate with a ladle of gravy mopped up with a generous portion of crusty Italian bread passed around to whoever was in the vicinity. On occasion a meatball might make it to the tasting plate but very rarely. If you were caught “tasting” on your own while Mom stepped away from the stove you would receive a swat from the same wooden spoon used to stir. God forbid we ran out and there was not enough to go around. But that was the funny thing about Sunday Gravy, there was always enough to go around for those invited and for those who just dropped in and usually there were leftovers.

Two or three times a month we would enjoy our meal and then head out to visit our aunts, uncles, and cousins. My mother’s father lived with us and her brother and sister would usually join us at our home.  My father was the youngest of 7 and being the youngest, he would show his respect by packing us into his car and making the 30-minute trip spending about 45 minutes at each home. No matter how full you were from your mom’s gravy you were still expected to eat more. Each of my father’s sisters married a man from a different part of Italy so each home had a different preparation. One was spicy, one had raisins and pine nuts in their meatballs, one preferred boxed pasta and one handmade and so on as traditions dictated. Our tradition on those visits was to always visit Auntie Ann’s home last because she was the baker in the family. To this day I have never seen a larger display of Italian cookies and pastries than the ones that were displayed at many cousins’ weddings.

Here are a few tips when preparing Sunday Gravy which is a very simple recipe to create. Be sure to use only fresh ingredients. Brown the meat, (but never the meatballs) in a quality olive oil, allow simmering for hours until the pork is fork tender and then add the meatballs and sausage until just done. That is a very important step because the flavors imparted from those meats during the simmer make the sauce. The final product should be thicker than marinara so a little paste is ok if you like but the slow reduction will help with consistency. Be sure to have lots of quality bread, grandpa’s wine and of course PASTA REA pasta. I don’t know why they call it gravy instead of sauce but that is a great topic to debate while it simmers.

Mangia Bene!!

Chef Tony

 

Roasted Beet Pasta with Chèvre Cream, Garlic & Chive

Roasted Beet Pasta With Chevre Cream, Garlic & Chive is a beautifully colored Fall pasta dish and it is equally delicious!  We particularly like the chèvre cream, garlic,  and chive sauce to enhance the flavor of the ever so subtle beet flavor of the pasta.  Our fresh Pasta Rea pasta cooks in only 3-4 minutes so this is a quick and easy dish for busy week nights or it’s impressive as a dish for entertaining guests.  A simple salad and a crusty loaf of bread is the perfect accompaniment to Roasted Beet Pasta.

Roast beef pasta on a white plate.

And if you want to get fancy, mimic the chive “spikes” in our photo! 

Roasted Beet Pasta Recipe:

4 servings

½ gallon water

1 tbsp sea salt

10 ounces PASTA REA Roasted Purple Beet pasta

4 each cloves of roasted garlic, mashed into a paste

2 tsp olive oil

3 ounces white wine

6 ounces heavy cream

5 ounces of a quality soft chevre cheese

2 tbsp. fine grated Romano cheese

2 tbsp. chive, chopped

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Sea Salt

Cracked Black Pepper

Preparation:

Bring the water to a rolling boil and add sea salt.

In a medium sauté pan, add the olive oil and garlic. Sauté stirring constantly so not to burn for about 1 minute.

Add white wine and reduce by half.

Add heavy cream and reduce to thicken, add cheese and stir to a smooth consistency.

Cook pasta to al dente and strain, reserving some pasta water. Add strained pasta, salt, lemon juice and chives to the cream and cheese mixture stirring with a large pasta fork until well coated with sauce. You may use some of the pasta water to adjust sauce consistency if needed.

Season to taste with Sea Salt.

Portion pasta evenly on four plates and top with a generous portion of cracked pepper. Serve immediately.

Pasta Puttanesca with Shrimp

Pasta Puttanesca  is an Italian pasta dish invented in Naples in the mid-20th century. Its ingredients typically include tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, capers and garlic making it a very cost-effective dish.  Chef Tony has created a “twist” on the Italian favorite with this delicious version which includes smoked shrimp, capers, and Kalamata olives.  This Pasta Puttanesca version with shrimp is also cost-effective and prepared with our fresh Pasta Rea pasta, it is sure to please.  As pictured here, the dish was prepared with Pasta Rea fiore but any of our fresh pasta will work, including long noodles such as spaghetti.   Our fresh pasta cooks in 3-4 minutes so be sure to not overcook, preparing it to al dente.

Fiore Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca With Shrimp

Serve Pasta Puttanesca with a simple green salad or Caesar salad and focaccia or crusty Italian bread.

Recipe:

1 tbsp.   sea salt

1 gallon purified water

3 tbsp.   olive oil

1 tbsp.   shallots, minced

6 med.   garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp.   red-pepper flakes, crushed

1 can      Italian plum tomatoes, drained and reserved juice, seeded then rough chop

12 oz.    smoked shrimp, chopped

3 tbs.     capers, drained

½ cup   Kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

2 tbs.     fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1 lb.        Pasta Rea fresh pasta

Bring 1 gallon of water to a rolling boil, add 1 tablespoon sea salt.

Heat oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Add shallots, garlic, red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring 1 to 2 minutes. Do not brown or char pepper. Add tomatoes, reserved juice, capers, and olives. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 5- 8 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens. Add shrimp and simmer until shrimp is firm.

Add salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until fresh pasta is al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain well.

Stir pasta into sauce. Cook, stirring, until sauce clings to pasta, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and serve.

Serving size: 4

 

 

POMODORO SAUCE

 

A pomodoro sauce is the perfect light tomato sauce for a side pasta dish to accompany a protein such as steak, chicken, fish (particularly “meatier” fish such as swordfish), or pork.  Prepared in just 15 minutes, and with ingredients you most likely have in your kitchen pantry and refrigerator, pomodoro sauce is a wonderful quick, simple, and delicious sauce that the entire family will enjoy.  It will work well with any shape pasta, and please remember that anytime you “sauce” a pasta to toss the pasta lightly in the sauce, coating it well, but not “drenching” the pasta in sauce!  And lastly, our Pasta Rea fresh pasta only takes 3-4 minutes to cook and be sure to cook it al dente’ to appreciate the texture and flavor.

Serving Size:  2 (consider doubling or tripling the recipe and freezing excess sauce for later use)

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

2 oz. olive oil

2 carrrots, peeled and cut in large pieces, about 2″ long and 1/4 thick thick

2 celery stalks, cut in large pieces, about 2″ long

3 tbsp. shallots, fine mince

3 garlic cloves, minced to paste

2 oz.white wine

2 cups tomatoes (peeled and seeded) chopped

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 pinch red pepper flakes

2 basil leaves, ripped

1 tsp.parsley, finely chopped

6 oz.PASTA REA PASTA

 

Cooking Directions

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pot.

Caramelize carrots and onions.

Reduce heat and add shallots and garlic, and saute’ until translucent.

Add white wine and reduce.

Add tomato, salt, and red chili flakes. Bring to a slow simmer until carrots and celery are fork tender.

Remove carrots and celery, discard or serve on the side with the pasta.

Add basil and parsley. Season to taste with sea salt, chili flakes or cracked pepper if desired.

Cook pasta to al dente, (3-4 minutes for fresh pasta), coat well with sauce and garnish with romano or parmesan cheese.

MANGIA BENE’!

 

 

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TRY THIS CHEESE CANNELLONI RECIPE FOR A DELICIOUS MEATLESS MEAL

We receive a lot of requests for meatless meals. We think you’ll enjoy Chef’s Cheese Cannelloni recipe. Serve with a Caesar salad or mixed greens and you have a delicious meatless meal.

Cheese Cannelloni
Serves 4-6
3 each PASTA REA Spinach Lasagna Sheets – 6.5” x 8.5”
3 each PASTA REA Egg Lasagna Sheets – 6.5” x 8.5”
2.25 lb. PASTA REA Ravioli Cheese mixture
24 oz. PASTA REA Vodka Sauce
6 oz. Mozzarella Cheese
8 oz. Grated Romano Cheese
1 oz. PASTA REA Basil Pesto

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Lay out pasta sheets one at a time on a flat surface with the shorter side facing you.
3. Fill a pastry bag with PASTA REA Ravioli Cheese mixture. Do not use a pastry tip.
4. Pipe in about 3 oz. of Cheese mixture in an even line from one side to the other.
5. Roll pasta over the cheese to form a cigar shape tube then cut. You should end up with 2 each 6.5” tubes per pasta sheet.
6. Repeat this process using both spinach and egg pasta sheets resulting in 6 each spinach and 6 each Egg cannelloni 6.5” long and about 1.5” thick.
7. In a 9 x 9 baking dish ladle 6 oz. of PASTA REA Vodka sauce.
8. Place 3 spinach and 3 egg cannelloni on top of sauce alternating colors.
9. Top cannelloni with 6 ounces of PASTA REA Vodka Sauce.
10. Top sauced cannelloni with 2 ounces of mozzarella, 2 ounces of Romano cheese
11. Repeat process.
12. Cover with plastic wrap then foil.
13. Bake in 325 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes until sauce bubbles on the side.
14. Remove wrap and foil and bake to melt top layer of cheese, about 5 minutes.
15. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
16. Cut into 4 or 6 portions. Place a portion on each plate and garnish with Romano Cheese and a drizzle of PASTA REA Basil pesto.

SPINACH TAGLIATELLE WITH HOT SMOKED SALMON, TOMATOES, AND LEMON CREAM

Spinach tagliatelle with hot smoked salmon, tomatoes, and lemon cream is a quick and delicious meal. The contrast of the green pasta with the red tomato creates a pleasant looking dish. We are pleased to offer this recipe from Chef Tony. If you are not a fan of smoked salmon, you may eliminate it or use fresh grilled salmon or shrimp as a substitute.

Spinach Tagliatelle, Hot Smoked Salmon, Tomatoes, and Lemon Cream Recipe

2 portions

1 gallon boiling water
1 tbsp + ¼ tsp Sea Salt
1 Ripe Red Roma Tomato
1 Lemon, zest then juice and hold in separate containers
½ tsp Chopped Parsley
½ tsp Olive Oil
¼ tsp Cracked Black Pepper
12 oz. PASTA REA Alfredo Sauce
12 oz PASTA REA Spinach Tagliatelle
8 oz Hot Smoked Salmon, flaked

1. Bring water to a strong boil, add 1 tbsp sea salt
2. Remove stem from tomato and cut a thin x at the opposite end
3. Drop tomato in water, allow to boil for about 1 minute, remove and cool
4. Remove skin from tomato, cut in ¼ remove seeds, fine dice
5. Toss diced tomato with ¼ tsp sea salt, lemon zest, parsley, olive oil, black pepper, hold
6. On a low flame simmer PASTA REA Alfredo ( you may reserve some pasta water after pasta is cooked to thin the sauce if needed)
7. Cook Tagliatelle in boiling water until al dente, drain well and toss with warm sauce
8. Add salmon, lemon juice to pasta and toss again to incorporate
9. Season to taste with Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper if needed
10. Evenly portion pasta on 2 plates making sure they are well sauced and have equal amount of salmon
11. Garnish each dish with ½ of the tomato mixture and serve

Mangia Bene’!

Spinach tagliatelle with hot smoked salmon tomatoes and lemon cream reduced

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Crisp Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Gemelli

Enjoy this delicious meatless pasta recipe utilizing fresh Pasta Rea gemelli. (derived from the Italian word for “twins”) Other small pasta shapes such as cavatappi may be substituted for gemelli.  Be sure to not over-cook the fresh pasta!

Crisp Brussels Sprout & Cremini Mushroom Gemelli  

Serves 2

12 each Brussels sprouts

2.5 tablespoons EVOO

1 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Cracked Pepper

6 oz. Cremini Mushroom

2 tsp Garlic

4 ounces white wine

8 oz PASTA REA ALFREDO SAUCE

1 ounce whole butter

½ Lemon, juice only

8 ounces PASTA REA Gemelli pasta

2 ounces Romano cheese

2 tablespoons chives

  1. Pre heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Remove the outer thick leaves of the Brussels sprout and discard. Remove the next layer of leaves until the hard center of the Brussels sprout remains, reserve core.
  3. In a small bowl toss the tender outer leaves with ½ tsp EVOO a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of pepper, reserve the remaining salt and pepper for later use.
  4. Place seasoned leaves on an oiled pan and place in oven. Roast until golden brown, about 5 – 7 minutes. Remove from oven and hold to the side.
  5. With a sharp knife thinly shave the cores of the Brussels sprouts, hold to the side.
  6. In a large sauté pan heat the remainder of the EVOO, add the cleaned mushrooms, garlic and shaved Brussels sprouts. Sauté until tender. Deglaze with white wine and simmer to reduce by half.
  7. Add PASTA REA Alfredo, butter and lemon juice, simmer on low.
  8. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente, drain well.
  9. Add pasta to sauté pan with sauce, ½ of Romano cheese and chive. Toss well.
  10. Divide finished pasta evenly on two plates, top with remaining cheese and roasted Brussels sprout leaves
Gemelli Pasta with Crisp Brussels Sprout & Mushrooms

Gemelli Pasta with Crisp Brussels Sprout & Cremini Mushrooms

 

 

Gigli Pasta with Cremini Mushrooms and Lemon Mascarpone

Gigli Pasta, Cremini Mushrooms & Lemon Mascarpone
1 gallon purified water
1 tbsp. + ¼ tsp sea salt
2.5 tbsp. mascarpone
2 oz. heavy cream
1 Lemon, zest then juice and hold to the side
1 oz. olive oil
6oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
1 tsp fine minced garlic
1 tsp fine minced shallots
¼ cup white wine
10 oz. PASTA REA Gigli pasta, raw
6 each large sage leaves, thin julienne or chopped
½ tsp chopped parsley
¼ tsp cracked black pepper
2 oz. Romano Cheese

Instructions:
1. Bring water to a rolling boil add salt, lower heat and hold
2. In a small bowl mix the mascarpone and cream to smooth making sure there are no lumps. Zest lemon then juice, hold to side
3. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add mushrooms and sauté until just tender
4. Add the garlic and shallot, sauté until shallots are translucent
5. Add wine and reduce by half, then simmer on low
6. Bring pasta water back to a rolling boil and add pasta
7. While pasta cooks add mascarpone and cream to white wine and mushrooms, stirring to incorporate. Add about 2 oz. of pasta water to season and thin sauce, continue to simmer
8. Cook pasta to al dente, strain well and add to simmering sauté pan
9. Add sage, parsley, pepper, 1 oz. cheese, ½ of the lemon zest and ½ of the juice to pasta and toss well
10. Adjust seasoning if needed with sea salt, pepper. Add lemon juice and zest if needed
11. Top with remaining cheese and serve

Gigli pasta 60x60

 

Bucatini Aglio e Olio

A simple, traditional olive oil and garlic bucatini for the hot summer months!

Sea Salt
1 pound PASTA REA bucatini
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves whole garlic
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ cup rough-chopped Italian parsley
4 ounces of grated parmesan cheese
Cracked pepper (optional)

Instructions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a hard rolling boil.

Heat the olive oil (on medium) in a large thick bottom skillet. Add the whole garlic cloves and cook until golden brown. Remove garlic, discard or save for garnish in the finished dish or another preparation. Keep oil on low heat or remove from flame.
Add the pasta to the boiling water, stirring to prevent the pasta from sticking to the pot.

While the pasta is cooking add the sliced garlic to the warm oil. Turn heat up to medium and cook garlic to a golden brown. Add some of the pasta water to the oil to stop the cooking process. Add the red pepper flakes and continue the cooking allowing the flavors to combine.

Cook the pasta to al dente, drain reserving a small amount of the water to use if needed to add to the sauce to increase volume. Add the parsley and season to taste with more salt and or cracked pepper, toss and incorporate well. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper and parmesan cheese.

Bucatini alio olio with parmesan crumbs

If you have questions regarding the preparation, please contact Chef Tony at trea@creationsincuisine.com or call 602 485-9924. He is always happy to discuss recipes!