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When I was born we lived in a trailer park called Cadillac Estates that is mostly burned down now.  Today I am a vegetarian living in Los Angeles learning how to love vegetables.  

  • Writer's picture CJ

Sunday Gravy

Real Italian Grandma Marinara

When I was first learning how to cook, the first thing I researched to try to make like the real deal was Marinara Sauce. I'm not Italian, I didn't grow up eating Sunday dinner, but for some reason I felt like if I could make a good marinara I would be on my way. I think it was also because for a while I dated someone who's mother made Sunday Gravy with the meatballs and the garlic bread and then everyone would sit down and have a real family dinner and it fascinated me.

I want to say that I might have made this recipe for the first time all of the way back when I still lived in Ohio, so over ten years ago! I found this recipe from a guy named Anthony. This was right about the time when people FIRST started posting recipes online and there was a chance if you googled something the search would come back with maybe one or two results. Wow, I never thought a sentence could make me feel so old!

Anyway, he had all of these fun tips about mashing the dried herbs and playing Italian music while you are cooking and I found it charming. His recipe was a little all over the place, but it produced the most incredible marinara and I have been making it ever since! He goes on to include recipes for meatballs and pork chops here, but I'm only interested in the vegetarian portion below. In fact, the sauce recipe is vegan.

This is the sauce that i used for the Eggplant dish that was posted, and I also just reduced this sauce and added sugar for the Detroit Style pizza as well!


3.5 tsp dried oregano

1 bay leaf 1.5 tsp dried sweet basil 2 and 1/2 tsp fresh parsley salt

pepper 1 tsp garlic powder dash cajun seasoning (I used cayenne pepper) 1 medium yellow onion 3 cloves of garlic 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp sugar 1/3 cup red wine (I used a chianti) (2) 28 oz tomato puree (2) 6 oz tomato paste (1) 16 oz diced tomatoes water Stock/Sauce pan with a heavy bottom   Directions: 1.  Chop up 3 cloves of garlic very fine.  Cover bottom of pot with olive oil.  Put garlic in olive oil and let it sit in the oil with the heat off while you chop the onion fine.   2.  Heat the oil and garlic on medium heat.  Add onions as soon as you see little bubbles around the garlic.  Important not to overcook the garlic.   3.  Turn heat to low and sweat onions for about 5 minutes.  Add 1 tsp Oregano, 1/2 tsp Basil, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Mix.    4.  (Italian Roux Phase) Add (1) 6 oz can of Tomato Paste.  Fill the can with water and stir it to get all of the paste off the inside of the can and add it to the pan.  Turn the heat back up to medium.  Mix constantly for 4 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and 1/2 tsp of Oregano 5.  Add (1) 16 oz can of Diced Tomatoes.  Fill this 16 oz can with water about half way and stir to get all tomatoes off the sides and pour into pot.  Stir constantly for an additional 10 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon Oregano, 1/2 tsp Sweet Basil, and 1 and 1/2 tsp fresh Parsley and Dash of Cajun Seasoning, and turn the heat down a little if the sauce begins to boil.   6.  Add (1) 6 oz Tomato Paste.  Fill can with water and stir to get all paste of side and add it to the pan. Will Well and heat for another 10 minutes.  Add a little more salt and pepper.  Be sure to press the paste to the side of the pan to make sure it doesn't clump together and mixes well.  Stir about once a minute at this point.   7.  Add (2) 29 oz cans of Tomato Puree and Mix well.  Fill 1 of the cans about 3/4 full of water and mix to get all sauce off the side and add to the pan. Add 1 tsp Oregano, 1 tsp parsley, 3 dashes of basil and 3 dashes of garlic powder.  Mix well.   8.  Add 1/3 cup red wine and 1 bay leaf.  Keep at medium heat and cover pan.  Be sure the sauce is not a rapid boil.  Stir the sauce ever 3 minutes or so for the next 30 minutes.   9.  Add 1 Tablespoon of sugar to sauce.  Taste at this point and add any additional spices to taste.   10.  Traditional Sunday Gravy would be served with Pork Chops, Braciole, or Meat Balls.   There are a lot of vegetarian pre-made meatballs that are delicious.  You could also make some meat balls out of tempeh or soy crumbles with egg, breadcrumbs, and parmesan.  

#SundayGravy #Marinara #Italian

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