It's been awhile since I made a big pot of Sunday gravy. So when a friend gifted me with a package of sausages from DePasquale's Sausage Company in Newton, I knew exactly what to do with them.
This was a simplified version of the Sunday specialty enjoyed in Italian American homes throughout the years. I added a bit of beef to the pot but did not take the time to make my special meatballs. (My favorite recipe for meatballs is from the 1975 edition of the The All New All Purpose: Joy of Cooking.)
I couldn't wait to taste the sausage. As soon as it was cooked through, I sliced into one and found it had the texture and flavor of a great handmade, old-style, traditional sweet sausage. I had finally found a replacement for the sausages I've missed since DiPaolo & Rossi Meat Market on Salem Street in the North End closed last year.
Both Ed and I sampled and dipped bread into the sauce as it simmered away all afternoon. Eventually, we served it with penne pasta. A great sauce needs a great, flavorful pasta. We chose the Bionaturae organic 100% durum semolina organic penne rigate.
They are closed on Sunday and Monday. On a recent visit early on a Tuesday morning, they didn't have sausages ready yet. In fact, their meat order had not even arrived. When they say fresh, they mean fresh! My advice is to call ahead early in the week or later on Saturday to be sure they have what you want in the quantity you need.
Sunday Gravy Recipes
I've been making this for so long that I don't follow a recipe. I just ad lib with what I have on hand. While there are as many recipes for "Sunday Gravy" as there are families who make it, here are a couple if you would rather follow a recipe than play it by ear.
From one of my most trusted recipe developers, Kenji Lopez-Alt (Author of The Food Lab): Meet Ragù Napoletano, Neapolitan-Style Italian Meat Sauce With Pork, Beef, and Sausage.
Here's one titled Sunday Sauce with step-by-step photos and the feeling of a family member teaching you how to make it.
Finally, here's a great piece from Bon Appetit that tells you how to avoid the most common Sunday Gravy mistakes.
What's on your Food Lover's shopping list?
Words: Penny Cherubino
Photos: ©2016 Penny Cherubino and a screen shot from DePasquale's website to show the sausage in all their whole glory.