Remember that time I told you the story about the silly little Irish girl who went to college and smothered her pasta in Prego? Well that same silly girl also thought gravy was what you put on a turkey at Thanksgiving (yes, she used to eat turkey—I told you she was silly). Turns out when you are Italian, gravy is way more than a condiment. It is a way of life. It runs through your veins, pores seeping with basil and garlic. It is stashed by the pound in your freezer, for impromptu family get-togethers, which most certainly call for trays of ravioli and red sauce. If you are not lucky enough to be born Italian, you will have to do the next best thing—marry the cutest Italian boy you can find. If you are lucky like me, you husband will have a sweet grandma who doesn’t know just how good her cooking is, but is always willing to share.
Part two of this story, goes something like this…About a month back, I made this gravy one Sunday afternoon. I didn’t look at the recipe card, as I knew it by heart—garlic, tomatoes, olive oil and basil. We enjoyed it that night and my husband proclaimed, “this might be better than grandma’s gravy”. Proud, that I could finally live up to the family name, I didn’t realize until later that I had left the can of water out of the original recipe. Now I am not saying one recipe is better than the other, I am much smarter than that, and wouldn’t want to lose my status as favorite daughter-in-law (yes, I am the only one). But I will say one thing—the Irish girl can whip up a mean batch of gravy.
serves one big Italian family
3 T olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 28-oz cans Pastene Kitchen-Ready peeled tomatoes
1 can water (optional)
1 bunch basil, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
In large sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium. Add garlic, and sauté 3-4 minutes, until garlic begins to brown. Add tomatoes, water (if using) and basil. Cover and simmer at least 2 hours. Season, to taste.