Sunday Gravy

By Kathleen

A picture of our Sunday Gravy Italian feast.

Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco means “not all donuts come out with a hole,” or in less philosophic terms, life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned. Centuries of poverty helped Southern Italians come up with all sorts of ways of saying, essentially, that life fucking sucks.

But amidst the random cruelty and chaotic disregard of human existence, there are other Italian gems like meglio aver poco che niente, “it’s better to have a little than nothing.”

As such, in a trying personal time, I turn to Sunday Gravy. No one can be truly, truly sad when there’s Sunday Gravy. I imagine this is how my ancestors coming from Southern Italy, escaping crime and destitution, about to enter the hardships of immigrant life, felt when they realized how cheap and plentiful food, even meat, was in the United States. Knowing that even in suffering, there is abudanza, abundance.

The ingredients for our Sunday Gravy Italian feast.

Our abundance started with sweet vermouth spritzes sipped while listening to old Italian-American standards. The feast consisted of a rich sugo replete with pork, sausage, and meatballs accompanied by sedini penne crowned with a dusting of savory pecorino romano.

Caprese salad.

Thick slices of tomatoes, at the peak of freshness, were layered with creamy, milky imported buffalo mozzarella covered with a drizzle of good olive oil and freshly torn basil leaves. Thick Italian pane sopped up the gravy, as well as the caprese salad.

Italian stuffed peppers with sausage and cheese

Roasted Italian frying peppers, bursting with molten fontina, mozzarella cheese, and sausage perfectly complemented the robust Vino Nobile.

Making Sunday Gravy today felt like a benediction, a link to the past, a connection to collective memory and consciousness, of interconnectedness with the hardship and joy of our ancestors.

Stuffed Italian peppers

Stuffed Peppers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Italian peppers stuffed with sausage and cheese.


  • 4 Italian frying peppers
  • 2 1/2 Italian sausage links removed from casings, sprinkled with red pepper flakes
  • .30 lb Fontina cheese
  • 1 full handful of shredded whole milk mozzarella


  1. Clean peppers. Remove the tops and scoop out the seeds and ribs. Blend together by hand remaining ingredients.
  2. Cut a small seam down the side of each pepper. Fill completely with mixture. Place in baking dish and cover with drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Cook at 400 for an hour.

Browned meat in a Sunday GravySunday Gravy

Sunday Gravy

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A quintessential slow-cooked Italian gravy perfect for a Sunday meal with family and friends.


  • 1 1/2-1 3/4 lbs bone in pork loin chops
  • 3/4 lbs Italian sausage
  • 1 lb meatballs
  • 2 cans San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2-3 tbs tomato paste
  • Sprinkle of sugar
  • 1 white onion, halved
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Basil leaves


  1. Salt and pepper pork chops, brown in olive oil.
  2. Remove pork and brown sausage in casing. Remove sausage and brown meatballs.
  3. Once browned, remove meatballs. Remove excess fat from the pan and squirt healthy amount of tomato paste in. Cook on low to get up fond from the pan. Sprinkle in small palmful of sugar.
  4. Add onion and garlic. Add 2 cans of hand-squeezed San Marzano tomatoes. Add meat back in. Add water to cover the meat. Cook for 4-4 1/2 hours, skimming fat off periodically.
  5. Add salt as needed, but let gravy reduce first so as not to over salt. Add fresh basil (6-7 leaves) in the last hour.
  6. Gravy is ready when reduced, thickened, and pork is able to break apart with spoon. Delicious with pasta and a side of caprese salad with fresh buffalo mozzarella.

2 Comments on “Sunday Gravy”

  1. Having recently found my VERY Italian birth family, the gravy vs sauce debate is paramount! I think they would agree with your recipe although I believe it would be the neck bones not loin chops… I’mma sharing this with “the family” 😀


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