Sunday, October 24, 2021
Saturday, October 16, 2021
The aroma of a garlic-laden tomato sauce spiked with Sausage, Meatballs, and rolled-up meat Braciola can bring tears to the eyes of many Italian-Americans.
Sunday Gravy, also known as Sunday sauce, evokes memories of weekend family gatherings in which mom or grandma presided over the constantly stirred pot of sauce and meat, and various relatives were tasked with procuring the essential provisions—the cannoli and sesame bread from the bakery or the wine from the cellar.
Sunday gravy was more than just a big, belt-loosening meal. In close-knit Italian-American homes, it was a virtual religion. “Each Sunday, we were constantly traveling to homes of different relatives,” says John Mariani, a New York food author whose books include How Italian Food Conquered the World. “It truly was a moveable feast.’’
The proprietors of Frankies Spuntino restaurant in Brooklyn, Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo, write that “Sunday sauce—the meal, the menu, the way of life—is the source and summation’’ of their restaurant business.
They recall how on Sundays their family kitchens would “start to fill with that hunger-inducing humidity, the tomato and pork simmering away in the pot.’’
Castronovo remembered that Sundays “even when I was a teenager and wanted to be a punk … I’d still stop and eat at my grandma’s house before the rest of the day went down.”
The best Sunday gravy simmers on the stove for hours, permitting the ingredients (the meat choices are seemingly limitless) to infuse the sauce with an unparalleled meatiness that no quickie marinara could ever hope to replicate. The long, slow cooking time was also time for families to spend with each other, reinforcing ties that could withstand the harsh realities of the outside world.
In a way, the history of Sunday gravy encapsulates the story of Italian immigration to the U.S. and the prosperity succeeding generations found in America. “Very, very impoverished Southern Italian women, whose only reason for living was giving birth to children and feeding them, suddenly found an abundance of cheap food in the U.S.,” Mariani says. “It radically changed their self image.”
The meats in the sauce became a symbol of plenty. Meat had been a rarity in the old country, and if there was any of it at all in a meal, it was usually pork. But in the U.S., immigrant women bought beef “because they could."
Before his father’s parents would bless the marriage, Mariani’s grandmother “demanded that my mom must learn how to make Sunday gravy.”
Along with the other staples of Italian-American cuisine, Sunday gravy has vaulted from family food to the culinary mainstream, even as a once-in-a-while treat for today’s health-conscious eaters. TV food stars Rachael Ray and Giada De Laurentiis regularly feature touched-up variations on the classic Italian-American repertoire. And, although “The Sopranos” is widely despised by Italian-Americans for its twisted depiction of their cherished family values, the show often featured sumptuous Sunday meals with pots and pots of sauce, meat, and pasta—and the cookbook spawned by the show features a Sunday gravy recipe.
For better or worse, 21st-century America has made celebrating the Sunday tradition much more difficult for families. “Sunday is now a time for attending soccer games, getting in 18 holes of golf … or watching three NFL games without interruption,” Mariani says.
But Mariani and other Italian-American food advocates nevertheless remain intent on keeping tradition alive. “My family still gets together on Sunday afternoons just as it always has, and the food is as good as it ever was,” Falcinelli wrote in The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual. “Growing up, I didn’t see it as an amazing culinary tradition, but I did appreciate how good the eating was.”
Thursday, January 19, 2017
RECIPE : MINESTORNE GENOVESE
1/4 pound Cannellini or Borlotti (cranberry) beans, soaked overnight
3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 1/2 cup chopped onion 2 leeks, washed and chopped, white part only 1 medium eggplant (1 pound), peeled and diced 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 2 ribs celery, sliced 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced 2 medium tomatoes, diced 2 cups hot chicken broth 4 cups hot water, plus extra if needed 1 cup chopped raw spinach 1 cup diced zucchini 1 cup shredded green cabbage 1/4 pound vermicelli or stelline pasta 3 tablespoons Basil Pesto Salt and pepper to taste
Drain the beans from the overnight soaking water, place them in a pot, cover with water, cook about 30 minutes or until still quite al dente, and set aside.
In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, leeks, eggplant, carrots, celery and potatoes and sauté for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables just begin to exude their juices.
Add the tomatoes, hot broth, hot water, beans and additional hot water to just cover the mixture. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook covered for about 30 minutes.
Add the spinach, zucchini, cabbage and pasta and cook another 20 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
BASIL PESTO for MINESRONE GENOVESE and to Sauce the PASTA of Your Choice
Who doesn't Love Pesto ? Well I guess there may be some, but for the most part, just about everyone loves this wonderful no-cook Italian Sauce that highlights some of Italy's most iconic ingredients which include ; fresh garden Basil, Italian Olive Oil, garlic, Pignoli Nuts, and Parmigiano Reggiano . In Genoa and Liguria where Pesto was first born and is famous for there, there are primarily two ways to use this wonderful cold sauce, number one is to coat any one of a variety of pasta shapes to make a tasty pasta dish of Maccheroni & Pesto or pesto's second most important use is as the main flavor enhancer of Minestrone Genovese, the greatest vegetable soup of all.
RECIPE : BASIL PESTO
3/4 cup pine nuts (6 ounces)
5 cups basil leaves, chilled and very dry
6 small garlic cloves, quartered
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for sealing
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Put the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Toss in the nuts, Parmesan, if using, pepper and salt and chop until the nuts are finely crushed, about 1 minute. Add the basil, oil and lemon juice and pulse for 1 minute more, until smooth.
To store, transfer the pesto to a sterilized jar with a tight-fitting lid. Pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto, seal and refrigerate up to 10 days or freeze up to 3 months.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Sunday, January 26, 2014
To the taste the wine has an elegant harmonious body, vigorous and racy, it is dry with a lengthy aromatic persistence.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
As a boy and young man, Dolly Sinatra would often make Frankie Spaghetti & Meatballs, which Frank loved all his life, from his Mom and at his favorite restaurant “Patsy’s” on West 56th Street in New York.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
- Shafer Relentless Napa Valley 2008
- Château de St.-Cosme Gigondas 2010
- Two Hands Shiraz Barossa Valley Bella’s Garden 2010
- Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010
- Château Guiraud Sauternes 2009
- Château Léoville Barton St.-Julien 2009
- Shea Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard Estate 2009
- Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley Reserve 2009
- Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino 2007
- Achával-Ferrer Malbec Mendoza Finca Bella Vista 2010