Pasta and Sunday Gravy

Pasta and Sunday Gravy

The Yankee Chef

Unless you are a true Italian, Sunday Gravy may sound as foreign as Tomato Gravy or Sunday Sauce. Each have been interchangeable for decades, but to full-blooded Italians, that is like saying Manhattan and New England chowders are each chowders, and we know that isn’t the case. (If that analogy does not stir the pot, I don’t know what will.) Sunday Gravy is the correct, time-honored name for any tomato sauce that has onions and a beef or pork product cooked within.

The best Sunday Gravy I ever had was when my father was semi-retired, and he slow cooked pork ribs in his tomato sauce all afternoon. It was absolutely delicious. So, if you happen to be retired and have your Sunday open, why not surprise your family with an authentic Italian meal?


2 links hot or sweet Italian sausage

1 pound pasta shells, or your favorite pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup minced onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil

1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

Salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano

1 cup cream (heavy, light, or half-and-half)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


Slice sausage 1/4-inch thick; set aside.

While making the Gravy, cook pasta according to directions. Transfer to a colander to drain while making Gravy but do not rinse it. By cooling the pasta without rinsing, you leave the starch on the pasta, allowing any sauce to stick much easier.

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, add oil. When hot, add sausage and cook until completely done, stirring frequently.

Add onion and garlic, blending to combine. Continue cooking until onions are tender.

Add tomatoes (juice included) and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened.

Add broth, paste, and all seasonings. Stir well, reduce heat to medium low (barely producing bubbles) and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Add cream and Parmesan cheese, stirring well. Cook 5 minutes more, and carefully add pasta.

Combine everything well and remove from heat once the pasta is heated through.

Author profile
Jim Bailey

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