Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1

Post
CuzinVinny
Junior Burger
2006/12/14 16:09:41
It's hard to imagine a world without that delightful combination of pasta and tomatoes, a pairing that is both loved and misunderstood. It would be impossible to list every possible formula for throwing together a batch of red sauce, though many still have preconceived notions of what makes it great.
To begin with, when most of us think "red", the name Marinara automatically comes into play. This is where things start to become confusing, due to the fact that the word has so many different meanings both in Italy and in the U.S. What many do not realize is that the term Marinara typifies an entire pasta course, rather than simply the condiment. The dish originated in Southern Italy, either Naples or Rome, and originally contained anchovies, olives, capers, oregano, chile, tomatoes and parsley tossed with spaghetti, (named in the style of the sailor, Marinara) a combination that is now referred to as Puttanesca (style of the prostitute) in America. There are theories, as with most Italian preparations, of how this dish received it's surnames and which is the correct one. At one point the dish was typically enjoyed in the ristorante and never made at home. To make matters more confusing, the original topping on the traditional Pizza Napoletana consisted of crushed tomatoes, slivered garlic, olive oil or lard and dried, crumbled oregano. Sometimes anchovies are added, though it apparently seems to be a regional specialty. This too was crowned Marinara, though most aren't sure why. Many believe that this classic tomato condiment inspired a cooked sauce bearing the ominous title and formula to be served in the home, though Neapolitans have dubbed this "alla pizzaiolo", which is used to dress thin cutlets of beef, veal or pork. Almost the entire peninsula of Southern Italy can agree, however that Marinara, whether it contains fish or not, should not be served with cheese of any kind. Marinara under any guise is ultimately fresh and piccante, and bursting with strong flavors that need not be masked.
Ciaoman
Cheeseburger
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/14 20:59:09
Welcome CuzinVinny! Very interesting post. Don't pay any attention to those who feel threatened by another's intelligence.

I found your comments about the origin of "marinara" intriguing. I have an old Italian cookbook that lists "pasta alla marinara" as containing the same ingredients you list--sounds identical to Puttanesca. The one "sin" that I've noted is calling a long-cooked tomato sauce (like a Bolognese meat sauce or a Sunday sauce) by the term marinara. I believe the best marinaras are cooked for 30 minutes or less...usually 20 minutes will do. Olive oil, garlic, onion, tomato, hot pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Maybe some fresh parsley and a few basil leaves if desired. Basta!
Phildelmar
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/14 21:30:12
A great, literate, and informative first post. I learned. and was propelled to the store and the kitchen, and who could ask more?
IansMom
Cheeseburger
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/14 21:35:35
CuzinVinny... sounds like my step-grandmother.. who was from Sicily.. your awesome.
salsailsa
Cheeseburger
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/14 21:39:58
quote:
Originally posted by Ciaoman

Welcome CuzinVinny! Very interesting post. Don't pay any attention to those who feel threatened by another's intelligence.

I found your comments about the origin of "marinara" intriguing. I have an old Italian cookbook that lists "pasta alla marinara" as containing the same ingredients you list--sounds identical to Puttanesca. The one "sin" that I've noted is calling a long-cooked tomato sauce (like a Bolognese meat sauce or a Sunday sauce) by the term marinara. I believe the best marinaras are cooked for 30 minutes or less...usually 20 minutes will do. Olive oil, garlic, onion, tomato, hot pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Maybe some fresh parsley and a few basil leaves if desired. Basta!


I too have seen Puttanesca recipes similar to the original marinara. Regardless, it is a sauce I'd love to try as all elements sounds great.Thanks for the informative and interesting post and a WARM welcome to Roadfood.
Jimeats
Filet Mignon
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/15 06:32:15
Originally posted by Polish guy


Cuzin Vinchenzo, Nice informative post. My favorite cusine, the delites of Italia. As far as the Sunday gravey vs the sauce thing, try not to go there. There are many here that are still licking their wounds from that last battle. Myself included. The final outcome was we couldn't agree, but whatever you call it we all love it.
I'm looking forward to your veiws on the different regions of Italy, how the food changes from region to region, much like it dose here in the US. Benvenuto to Roadfood. Ciao Jim
doggydaddy
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/15 08:20:44


I'm curious about what is Tomato Gravy? It sounds like it is a sauce that is exclusively American. I know that in the South, it was a popular term for their tomato sauce. I never learned anything that made it unique. Is there roux in it like other gravies?

mark
porkbeaks
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/15 08:36:41
Gravy is, as I know it, a tomato sauce that simmers for a long time with meats added. Here is a recipe from Rao's that I use. -pb

Only in New York would we call this gravy:

Sunday Gravy

1 pound piece lean beef, such as eye of round
1 pound piece lean pork, such as loin
1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausages
½ cup fine-quality olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup water
3 35-ounce cans imported Italian plum tomatoes, hand-crushed, reserving the juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 recipe Beef Braciola
1 recipe meatballs, optional

1. With a paper towel, pat the meat dry.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan or deep, heavy-bottomed casserole over medium heat. Add garlic and toos to coat.
3. Cook meat, a few pieces at a time, in the oil for about 5 minutes, turning frequently, until nicely browned on all sides. As meat is browned, remove from pan and set aside. When garlic cloves begin to brown, remove and discard them.
4. Combine tomato paste and water and stir into the oil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and the juice, raise heat, and bring to a boil. Using one of the tomato cans, measure 2 cans of cold water and add to the pan. Return to a boil.
5. Return beef and pork to the sauce and add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes.
6. Lower heat and partially cover the pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about two hours or until meat is almost falling apart and sauce is thick. If sauce becomes too thick, add water, a quarter cup at a time.
7. One hour before sauce is ready, add Beef Braciola and sausage.
8. If using, add the meatballs at the same time.
9. Remove meat from the sauce. Serve sauce over pasta, then meat as a separate course.

Yield: Makes 3 quarts.
Jimeats
Filet Mignon
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/15 08:38:24
Oh gosh! To the trenches everyone. The fist shot has been fired across the bow. Chow Jim
fabulousoyster
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/15 08:40:31
To the gravy I add a dash of cinnamon, it makes it EXOTIC italian.
Ashphalt
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/15 09:59:52
What I learned growing up in Rhode Island was that gravy was the day-to-day red sauce. It was what mom put on the table with pasta at every sit-down meal, whether it's chicken or corned beef. It was also what they serve at diners and pizza joints, as in "a meatball parm, extra gravy." Sauce was usually a special recipe for occasions.

In one family I knew, the Mother admonished the kids to stop calling it gravy when they moved from the old neighborhood to the new suburb. But around the kitchen table it was usually "gravy." Nowadays, it seems some restaurants and caterers actually use terms like "Old-World Gravy," but when I was a kid it was just gravy or, at a diner, red gravy.
CuzinVinny
Junior Burger
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/18 15:19:43
Interesting touch, fabulousoyster.. many old-school Italians have grown up around their mama's table, eating gravy that was enhanced by touches of cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Some of them even add a pinch of sugar, as most Sicilians are noted for doing in the old days but which has become a passing trend with most chefs today.
As you may know, spices were brought over to Italy through the Saracens, Greeks, Goths and Franks through their trade system with China. In fact, in many Greek cookbooks you will see recipes for meat sauce (particularly for pastitsio me kima, a rich baked pasta with bechamel and grated kefalotyri) accented with cinnamon. These spices are also to be found in many regional Italian variations of ragu, from the Tuscan sugo di carne to the Marches, where chefs are known for their elaborate use of sweet spices dating back to the Renaissance. As with any, most Italians debate as to which region offers the most authentic cuisine of their native country, though it should be pointed out that improvisation is what truly makes it so varied and wonderful. Mangia bene!!!!
lleechef
Sirloin
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/18 16:15:48
In our Italian family there was no such thing as "Sunday Gravy". It was simply tomato sauce or Bolognaise if we were having gnocchi. The tomatoes came from the garden which Nona canned. Their families were from the north, near Torinoand Milano, therefore the tradition of cooking the sauce all day was unheard of.
CuzinVinny
Junior Burger
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2006/12/18 20:27:04
Since you, lleechef, are a Northern Italian, you may want to read my second entry, which details both the ragus of Emilia-Romagna (Ragu Bolognese) and of Naples. (Ragu Napoletana, aka "Sunday Gravy") In this entry, I use information provided to me from various sources as to how ragu, in all of it's many variants first became synonymous with pasta. The question remains unanswered, but I'm sure this will be of some interest to you, as a felloe man who knows and respects fine Italian cuisine. Benvenuti, mi amici!!!!
BhamBabe
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2007/01/19 02:55:40
quote:
Originally posted by doggydaddy



I'm curious about what is Tomato Gravy? It sounds like it is a sauce that is exclusively American. I know that in the South, it was a popular term for their tomato sauce. I never learned anything that made it unique. Is there roux in it like other gravies?

mark


DD, in the south tomato gravy has nothing to do with pasta. It is roux based milk gravy with crushed, fresh or stewed, tomatoes added at the last min. We eat it with biscuits for breakfast. Just a variation of plain old milk gravy.

As for the red stuff on pasta, it's sauce here. It never played a large part of our supper menu's. I love it now as an adult but only rarely make it from scratch.
Jimeats
Filet Mignon
RE: Tomato Sauce vs. Sunday Gravy and Others Part 1 2007/01/19 08:21:33
Babe, My grandmother use to make that a lot during the summer months. It was called cream toast and tomatos, great summer light lunch. I belive it was a leftover from the depression years.

I enjoy making my own sauce. It's very easy to do {for me anyway} the house smells great and the anticipation of the comming meal is worth the effort. I generally make a large pot then freeze whats left for future use. Chow Jim