This recipe requires some explanation, because it’s not really gravy. Actually it’s a basic marinara sauce, but in New England, they call it “gravy”.
Every Sunday is the cooking day. When the mother, grandmother and assorted others, cook up a storm, and the whole family comes over and eats as a group. I think it a great tradition, and the marinara sauce is great too!
1 large finely chopped Onion
1 large finely chopped Carrot
2 finely chopped stalks Celery
4 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
2- 28 oz. cans of crushed Tomatoes, or whole Tomatoes that are lightly chopped in the processor. San Marzano are the best
1/2 cup of Marsala wine
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
Put enough olive oil to just cover the bottom of the saucepan. The key to this sauce is to use a stainless steel or cast iron pan that will maintain heat. The cheap aluminum pans will not work, as they can’t maintain an even heat. My favorite is Le Creuset.
Just heat the oil slightly, and then add the onion, carrots and celery and lastly your garlic. You want to just let the mixture sweat gently. Don’t let this brown, as the flavor will become bitter.
After the mixture has become soft, now it's a soffritto or as the French call it a mirepoix, add the Marsala and cook until the alcohol is gone.
Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Now bring it back to a boil, and then reduce the heat down to the lowest simmer and just let it cook. The longer you cook it, the better it will be.
After about 2 to 3 hours, you will have a beautiful and basic marinara sauce. I always like marinara served with a great Parmesano Reggiano and spaghetti.