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Vita Greco's Gravy / Tomato Sauce

This recipe comes from Next Door to the Chicken Market, the second Italian recipe book written by Vita Greco. The new 140 page recipe book contains more than 100 new recipes of all the Italian dishes made by Vita Greco and her family . . . appetizers, main dishes, pastas, chicken, meats, vegetables, soups, salads, sandwiches, sauces, gravies, breads, desserts, specialty items, and even a Wine Chart.


2 x 28 Oz. cans Crushed Tomatoes (I always use the Tuttorosso brand)
salt and pepper
little Sugar
lot of Fresh Parsley
lot of Fresh or Dried Sweet Basil
3 - 4 Cloves Garlic, sliced
pinch of Grated Cheese
little Water (about as much as will fill the Tomato Paste can)
1 x 6 Oz. can Tomato Paste (I use Rienzi)
1 x 8 Oz can Del Monte Tomato Sauce
Olive Oil

  • Sauté garlic in olive oil in a large pot.
  • Add all other ingredients except tomato paste, and simmer. Stir about every 15 minutes or so being sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot, because you don't want this to stick or burn. If it starts to get too thick, you can add water-a little at a time.
  • For thicker Gravy, you can add a small can of Tomato Paste. If you're adding meat to this Sauce (sausage, meatballs, etc.), you'll need to add the tomato paste, because you will want the gravy thicker.

I, also, sometimes add an 8 oz. can of Del Monte Tomato Sauce. Don't ask why, because I don't really know. I guess it seems to help stretch the amount a bit. Keep the lid tilted on the pot. A tight lid will cause condensation, which will make your Gravy / Sauce watery. If you have more than you need, you can freeze it in small containers to use another time. And, remember, when you put the meat in, it becomes Gravy.

  • Simmer for about 3 - 4 hours.

For a richer, fuller-tasting Gravy:

  • Brown some Pork neck bones and / or spare ribs and a mall Lamb shank in a frying pan. When browned, but not cooked through, add this meat to your Sauce with the Meatballs and Sausage.
  • Be sure to simmer it for 3 - 4 hours, so the meat will cook, and the flavors will blend with the tomatoes.

This makes an absolutely wonderful Gravy. The real trick is to add the Pork neck bones. And, the Lamb shank does not have a gamey taste to it. It's GREAT! You'll see.