I’ve shared memories of my father’s “Sunday Gravy,“ a classic Italian tomato sauce that was loaded with meatballs, sausage, and pork neck bones. Every Italian family has a recipe for this simple yet totally delicious staple.
Writing about my memories inspired me to make my own gravy. This was a few months ago and the batch I made was huge. Most of it found its way into the freezer and was promptly forgotten. I did create a braised pork recipe (check it out on my RECIPES page) that was the essence of the pork neck bones as I remembered them. Some of that wound up in the freezer as well.
Fast forward to this week when I was cleaning out the freezer. I found 3 cartons of beautiful red goodness. I knew they were all gravy, but I didn’t know what else was in them. So, I put the 3 ruby cubes in a pot, and let them thaw over low heat. What resulted was gravy filled with all three wonderful meats.
I cut the meats into bite size pieces and returned it to the sauce. I found a large package of extra wide egg noodles that reminded me of lasagna. These became the pasta component. A little ricotta, cheese, and herbs were added and Sunday Gravy Casserole was born. This is really a riff on Poor Man’s Lasagna. Just search by the title on my RECIPES page)
Every bite of this was filled with meaty goodness. There was just enough cheese to make it feel decadent. The noodles stayed firm and held their shape. It was too good to be eaten alone, so I sent a generous pan over to the “new parents”
Easter is a time for re-birth and new beginnings. Spring is here for the most part and life begins to move outdoors…finally. When I was growing up, Easter was a special time. that was steeped in religious as well as food traditions. Lent ended and with it all the fasting, abstaining and giving things up. To say there was a food frenzy may be a bit of an overstatement, but it was definitely a time for enjoying eating.
I loved the Calzone. We sometimes called it Easter Pie and it was baked on Holy Saturday, not be eaten until after Easter Sunday mass. It was filled with ricotta and sausage, with egg in every part of it. My mother and my aunt both made it and I couldn’t wait for Easter morning to have it. If I timed it right, I could have my mom’s and then go upstairs and have my aunt’s, too. They each had their own version, my aunt’s often having ham and hard-boiled eggs in it.
This is my mother’s recipe. She would make it every Easter. If I was lucky, I’d have it again at Christmas when her side of the family served it as Egg Pie. Whenever it was made, it was one of the most satisfying dishes I’ve ever had.