Sunday, May 8, 2011


Today is the day I try to recapture my mother's impossible task. My childhood Sundays had an aroma and flavor that will be with me until the day I depart this dear planet, and it all came from the pot on the stove. My mother's gravy. (There is disagreement among Italian-Americans as to the difference between gravy and sauce. Some feel if it has meat in it, it's gravy, if not, it's sauce. In our family, everything was gravy.) The gravy, with whatever meat it might contain, meatballs, sausage, beef, chicken, or a combination of several, would simmer on the stove all morning in preparation for our mid-day Sunday meal.

Today's gravy was made with chicken thighs and served on linguini, my wife's favorite pasta. It made to the stove around 3:30, and Patience and I enjoyed an early dinner at 6 PM.


Sunday Pasta…like mom used to make…just not as good.


28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes*
Olive oil
Chicken thighs, bone in skin removed
Red wine
Salt, pepper, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes


Brown chicken in olive oil and remove, de-glaze pan w wine and add the “stuff’ to the chicken.
Cook garlic, onions and red pepper flakes until soft, then add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.
Add the chicken, basil, oregano, cover and simmer over low heat for 2-hours. If the sauce is too thin remove lid and/or add 1-2


Patience gives this an unqualified 10.5. My modesty requires me to limit it to a 10. This gravy/sauce is so good it should be declared illegal! If you should ever have the opportunity to have dinner at La Casa Renzulli this is the stuff you should request.

*I purchase my tomatoes on line from……they have several brands. My favorite is Rega


happy internist said...

okay, not to stir the pot so to speak, but grandma told me to never put oregano in the gravy, just basil and parsley... we may have to have a family meeting about this!

William F. Renzulli said...

You're right Beth. Grandma never used oregano in her gravy. But to my great dismay I find myself disagreeing with her...I like oregano in the gravy. In fact I like oregano in my eggs, my cereal, my ice cream and in just about everything.

Gus said...

My Nonna called it all Sugo..didn't matter, unless it had fish in it. And she did put oregano and fennel seed in it, but I don't usually, I like the gentler flavor of basil, but a lot of it.


I'm Just Sue ... said...

AH HA! Now I understand ... you'd think after what seems like an eternity of watching food shows, I'd have learned what the difference between "gravy" and "sauce" was; but not until today! Explains the Sunday nite dinners from long ago that had pork chops, sausages, and a tomato sauce that the neighbors used to have! (although, they had no clue about seasoning!)