Minna’s Favorite Recipes. Gravy, With Sausage and Meatballs

Many of you asked for this again, so here it is …

Diane Iannuccilli (Minna)

Gravy with Sausage and Meatballs

We dunked our bread in the gravy

And Yes, we called it gravygravy-and-meatballs

Meatball Ingredients

2 pounds lean ground beef
4 eggs
2 cups (approx.) seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

In a bowl, mix all ingredients for the meatballs with hands until well blended. Form about 16 meatballs (or more if you make them on the smaller size) and place on a platter. In a frying pan, add olive oil and when hot, add meatballs, leaving enough room to gently turn each for browning (use a wooden spoon). Cook on medium heat until browned; repeat until all meatballs are browned. Do not overcook as they finish cooking in the sauce. Place meatballs on a clean platter.

Gravy ingredients

1/4 cup oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage links (optional)
3 large (35 ounce) cans Italian tomatoes — Pastene Kitchen Ready are fine
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 can (use tomato can) of water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 Teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh basil, if desired

In an 8 quart saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute garlic and onion until lightly browned and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the sausage links and brown.

Add 3 cans of tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 can water, salt, pepper and parsley, and fresh basil, if using. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. After 15 minutes, carefully add the meatballs, stirring with a wooden spoon to avoid breaking meatballs. When all meatballs have been added, reduce heat to low, partially cover and cook for 2-1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so to prevent sticking. If sauce seems too thick, add a little more water.

Serves 6 to 8

© 2018

By | 2018-05-13T14:03:57+00:00 May 21st, 2018|Recipes|10 Comments


  1. Maria Gilio December 27, 2016 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Ottima ricetta, fedele alla tradizione della cucina italiana!

    • Ed December 27, 2016 at 8:40 pm - Reply

      D’avvero! Grazie.
      Buon Anno!

  2. Ray Penza December 27, 2016 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    All four of my grand parents were born in Italy, and nobody in my family ever called it gravy. It was sauce. Gravy was what we put on turkey or roast beef. Now I’m told that I have to call it gravy. Sorry, too late.Thanks for the sauce recipe, Ed.

    • Ed December 27, 2016 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      Ray, it is hard to find the origin of the use ‘gravy’. It is used in a few areas of Philadelphia, NYC and RI, of course. All I came up with was the difference between ‘gravy’ and sauce… sauce made quickly, ‘gravy’cooked/simmered all day with the meats, tomatoes, etc. What we call ‘gravy’ here is ragu in Italy. Do you ave any other ideas? I need help.
      In the final analysis, it is delicious and dunkable.
      Buon Principio d’Anno!

  3. Maiden name Lillian Gandolfo January 18, 2017 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    I bought your book Growing up italian after reading some of your short writings I found on the internet. I attended George West Jr high and Classical high. I lived near Providence college o Stonelaw Ave but between the ages of 1- 9 I lived on Douglas Ave in A 3 story with my family on the top floor grand parents on the 2nd floor and my aunt on the first floor.
    I have not lived in RI for 50 plus years and I have told my husband so many of these same stories.
    In your book I underlined everything that was part of my Italian upbringing the schools the beaches…thefood the ice cream truk ..waffle man my husband is Norwegian from Nebraska …never
    had any of these experiences.
    Thank you so very much for bringing back all those wonderful memories some of which I had forgotten.
    My name change It was given to me by my husband. He could not say Lilliana he just called me Jennifer It stuck.

    • Ed January 20, 2017 at 1:51 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for you very kind remarks, Jennifer (Lillian). I am so pleased that I have rekindled your memories. The stories reflect on many, be they Italian or not. I have written a second book, “What Ever Happened to Sunday Dinner?” available on Amazon. I am in the process of publishing a third later this year.
      I also have a monthly column in the ProJo. I hope you have had a chance to see it.
      My writing has allowed me to meet so many new friends, you being one. It is such a great feeling.
      Tante belle cose….

  4. Joan D'Ambrosia January 23, 2017 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Hi ed ur (sauce) recipe is the same as my mother taught me….but onions were a no no! U only used onions in the sauce for Pasta 🍝 Faggolli! Every time I have a minute or two I read ur stories…so many beautiful memories! I lovingly remember my mom and Dad making sauce on Sunday morning listening 👂 to Antonio Pachi on the radio….I’m sure I spelled his name wrong, but I was wondering if u remember him?

    • Ed January 23, 2017 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      just fine, Joan. Thanks for the sauce update. I too remember Antonio Pace‘s radio show. My mother listened regularly, and I caught it in the background, unfortunately not understanding his Italian.

  5. Joan D'Ambrosia January 23, 2017 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    I hope u r getting my comments Dr….as I say I’ll never get used to modern technology! Let me know how I’m doing?

    • Ed January 23, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      Indeed, I am, Joan. Keep ’em comin’

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