Nana's Sunday Gravy on Friday
Over the years many people have asked me for my recipe for gravy and meatballs. I never had anything written down, so here goes.
1lb of ground turkey (thighs)
hot turkey sausage
mild turkey sausage
hot pepper flakes
1 large white onion
2 bell peppers
1 roasted pepper
1 head garlic
2 cans of whole tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 stick pepperoni
panko bread crumbs
I prep everything before I start cooking.
Fine chop the garlic (I use the food processor), rough chop on 3/4 onion and bell peppers. As I prep the ingredients for the gravy I do them for the meatballs too.
Get the meat ready: remove the casing from the pepperoni and slice.
Nana's wooden spoon
1 lb ground turkey, 1 link mild turkey sausage out of casing, 1 egg, 3/4 puree of roasted pepper, fine chop 1/4 onion and about 3-4 cloves fine chopped garlic, a handful of pecorino (1/2 cup-ish), salt, pepper, enough panko bread crumbs to keep it all together. I set this aside while I get the gravy started.
Over medium heat, brown the meat in olive oil and remove to a bowl.
Toss the onion and peppers in the olive oil and fat from the meat.
Once they've sweated for 3-5 minutes, pull out to the sides and let some oil pool in the center.
Add about 3 tbsp of tomato paste, 1 tbsp of anchovy paste, red pepper flakes to taste, oregano and basil flakes, and let the everything start to cook. Mix the stuff in the middle, and let the tomato paste cook for a few minutes then stir everything in the pot.
Add the rest of the chopped garlic and stir in. The anchovy paste and cooked tomato paste add some real depth to the gravy, which is important because I use turkey, not beef.
Add the canned tomatoes. You can either smash the whole tomatoes my hand as you add them or use a potato masher in the pot. Stir it up and assess the mix to determine how much water to add. I usually add one can of water. Stir it all up, keep over medium heat until it all simmers, then lower to a low heat.
Now I do the meatballs. I mix all of the ingredients by hand, but don't over mix. Keep it loose and a little wet.
Make sure to form meatballs of similar size, except, of course, some tester meatballs that are a smidge smaller. My Nana used to do this for my brother and I, and my mom and dad also did this.
While the meatballs are browning in vegetable oil over medium high heat, I taste the gravy and add additional seasoning as necessary. This time I needed salt and a bit more pepper.
When browning the meatballs, remember you aren't cooking them through, just getting some color and keeping them together. Once browned, remove to paper towels.
Carefully add them to the gravy then stir them, carefully, to get the whole pot mixed up.
And now we wait...I let it go the whole afternoon until dinner on the lowest heat possible.
I am so thankful that my Nana taught me to cook, that she instilled in me that "Italian grandmother" desire to feed people.