Sunday Gravy

I know on this island there’s a long-standing debate going on – Is it called Sunday Sauce or Sunday Gravy? Me, I really don’t care what you call it as long as it tastes good.   I tend to call the regular version I make sauce and the version I’m making today gravy. What’s the difference?  For me, the heartiness of the sauce is what puts it in the gravy category.  Remember, this is a German lady cooking Italian every Sunday, so I do not claim to be an expert.

Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money.  My dad was a Police Officer and my mom was a stay at home mother raising three children, many times alone.  Mom was left alone with the three of us as my dad worked rotating shifts.  I can still remember his shift schedule. Two nights (4-12), two days (8-4), two overnight (12-8) followed by two days off if he was lucky.  I never thought much back then about the fact that our mom always had a hearty meal on the table every single night.  As kids, we had a hot meal (meat, vegetables and starch) every night and rarely, if ever, ate fast food.  We actually only ate out once a year, for the New Year, and ordered pizza when our house flooded, which unfortunately (or fortunately) was often.  How my mom managed that feat, I really can’t say as I sure didn’t when my three were little.   We ate a lot of fast food and macaroni and cheese from the blue box.

Dad at his Seneca Avenue home, 1956

My dad always liked good quality food.   I used to think this was because he grew up poor.   I thought he saw it as some kind of confirmation that he “made it” and didn’t have to settle for less anymore.  But, when mom was diagnosed and he started cooking, I realized that wasn’t it at all.  Dad was really a foodie at heart.   One day, I asked him why he didn’t cook more as he loved it and was quite good.   His answer made me sad.   He said my mom never let him cook because she didn’t want a big mess.   Mom was quite the clean freak in her day and the thought of pots and pans all over her kitchen likely stressed her out.   Now that he was doing all the cooking and cleaning, he was able to cook and experiment with many new recipes.

My Dad always knew the best places to get quality meat.   He often brought home special roasts for our holiday meals and they never disappointed.  Still, we weren’t often able to get expensive cuts.  Thankfully, mom was great at slow cooking so we really couldn’t tell.   I actually never tasted a Filet Mignon until I was in my thirties!  Another cut of meat I had for the first time about a year ago was short ribs.  Crazy, right?  We went to lunch one day with my son and his fiancé and I ordered beer braised short ribs.   I instantly fell in love with the softest, tastiest stew meat I’d ever tasted.   I’ve been hooked on it ever since.

Today, we were in the mood for Sunday Gravy so I knew just the meat I’d be adding in.  Short ribs cooked in tomato sauce turn it into a hearty ragu, hence why I call it gravy.  I hope you’ll give this one a try over some homemade, hand cut spaghetti as  I promise you won’t be sorry.   You need to get an early start with this recipe though as it needs to cook long and slow.

For our pasta today, we were in the mood for some homemade ravioli.   You don’t need a fancy machine to make it and like other pasta, once you eat homemade you’ll not go back to frozen.  My pasta recipe was shared in this post – Sunday Sauce

For ravioli, I follow the same recipe but use “00” Flour instead of all-purpose.  This helps keep the dough thin and light, which is exactly how ravioli dough should be.


I use this ravioli cutter and it’s super easy to make.  Just do not overfill them as they will explode if you do.
Bellemain Large Ravioli Maker

Sunday Short Rib Gravy

Ingredients (For 2 with leftovers)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pounds short ribs
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • dash of wine or broth to deglaze the pot
  •  Sat and pepper to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • tsp red pepper flakes
  • olive oil and 1 tbsp sweet butter


  1. Pour cup of coffee as it will be way too early for wine.  You can still turn Alexa on low and dance in the kitchen.
  2. Your pot choice matters a lot when cooking.  Please, use cast iron for this recipe.   I used to be a Le Creuset snob, but was not happy with the customer service I didn’t receive when my expensive pot’s white inside lost its luster.  I recently purchased a new cast iron pot from Anolon and am loving it!  If you’re looking to try cast iron cooking, you may want to check this pot out for far less money.    The insides are black and the lines of the pot and handle are sleek and modern.
  • Brown the short ribs in tbsp of olive oil.  Remove from pot.878C5103-82E7-40BC-A023-4E61A4513593
  • Mine left very little oil in the  pot, so I added tbsp of sweet butter to brown my chopped onions.   Cook gently on low heat for about 4 minutes.  Do not allow them to burn.
  • Add chopped garlic and red pepper and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add splash of wine to deglaze the pot.  I had white on hand. Use flat wooden scraper and get all those wonderful bits off the pot.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir.  Cook for a minute
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and pinch of sugar.
  • Add sat and pepper to taste.
  • Cook for at least 5 hours until meat falls off the bone.
  • Remove bones and carrot and discard.
  • Shred meat if needed, but mine usually just falls apart.
  • Serve over spaghetti with a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.02F8F623-B328-4DB5-A6D9-09A4B7885D0A

If you make this gravy, drop me a note.  I’d love to hear how you liked it and what tweaks you made.  It comes out so thick and delicious.  Enjoy!E0981176-9577-4899-A7BC-B6DB5AFE41FF

Author: laurakump

I'm a mother, wife and daughter on a mission to reclaim my health. I've watched loved ones suffer from memory robbing Alzheimers and refuse to lose my precious memories to this disease. Small changes have helped me achieve health and fitness. I'm an Elementary School Principal on a mission to impact students lives. I believe we can change this world one child at a time.

8 thoughts on “Sunday Gravy”

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