A Special Video from Rob and Ramy: Love, Family and Sunday Gravy

For Ramy and Rob, food and family go hand in hand. There is nothing better than spending time with loved ones over a delicious meal — especially when it is homemade!

To welcome you into the Ramy Brook family, our Co-CEOs wanted to share their favorite recipes with you so you can enjoy and connect with the people you love most.

Sunday Gravy

A note from Rob:

"My mother cooked this every Sunday growing up. Cooking was one of the many ways she expressed her intense love for her family. And my grandparents came over every Sunday, never missed a day. The house smelled like heaven when my brothers and I rolled out of bed. We started eating at 1pm and ate all day, breaking every few hours to watch football or pass out on the couch.   At the end we’d crack nuts, eat fruit, cheesecake, ice cream and the best Italian pastries. My grandfather was a great man, he’d give you the shirt off his back, and lived for his family. He was also the toughest guy I’ve ever seen. But he was angry a lot, and lucky he married a saint. Every Sunday, eating Sunday Gravy at the head of the table, and surrounded by his family, he was the happiest man on earth. And everyone was happy.

Many a Sunday my buddies would join, guys who could really eat. Mom would stuff them with a big smile until they happily broke. Everyone was always welcome, and we never ran out of food, god forbid. The gravy always had meatballs and sausage (of course!). And then she’d add some (or all, no kidding) of braciola, country pork ribs, beef round, beef short ribs, lean pork, whole chicken cut up, sometimes even a ribeye pan-fried and sliced, with sautéed hot and sweet cherry peppers on the side. But in my Sunday Gravy I’ve grown to yearn for meatballs, sausage, beef short ribs and chicken on the bone. I could eat this every meal of my life. Surrounded by my family, and great friends, I’d be the happiest man on earth."

Ingredients

Servings: 8-10. Any leftovers will go fast, eaten cold in the middle of the night or the next day.

Meatballs:

1 pound ground chuck 80% lean

½ pound ground pork

½ pound ground veal

2 teaspoons finely minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

1 rounded tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ cup well chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup of freshly grated Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheeses, half cup each

1 1/8th cup fresh Italian bread crumbs

2/3rd cup water, lukewarm

Large container regular olive oil (not extra virgin), for frying meatballs

Gravy:

Regular olive oil (for browning meat)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 pound ground sweet and hot Italian sausage, mixed

1 1/2 pounds sweet or hot Italian sausage links (around 8-9)

3 ½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs (around 8 pieces, or mix with other parts as desired)

5 pounds thick pieces of short rib on the bone

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped small

1 small can of tomato paste, 6 ounces

1 ½ cups dry white wine

4 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes with juices, preferably San Marzano, but any type you love. Remove skin and hard end from tomatoes. Hand crush well.

1 ½ quarts chicken broth

1 cup beef broth

3 cups water

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

Fresh basil, 12 leaves, torn

¼ cup mix of freshly grated Pecorino Romano and Parmesan Cheese, plus more for the table

Spaghetti or rigatoni, amount per appetites.

Instructions

Meatballs:

Mix together ground chuck, pork and veal. Spread minced garlic on meat (or add later to beaten eggs). Add salt, pepper, oregano, basil, cayenne, grated onion, parsley, egg and mix. Add cheese, mix, add breadcrumbs, mix. Slowly add water, mixing gently. If you haven’t started the sauce yet put meatball mixture in a large plastic bag and refrigerate. Then remove and brown meatballs ideally about an hour before the sauce is done. If making “right away” to put into the sauce, spread meat on sheet pan and put in the refrigerator for 20 mins, turning once, before shaping and frying meatballs.  

Weigh meatball mixture into six-ounce portions and roll 8 beautiful balls. Or twelve four-ounce ones if prefer. Pour olive oil into a large pan and heat oil to 375-400 degrees. Gently add meatballs, the oil should go a little under halfway up them when they’re submerged. Brown meatballs at a steady rolling simmer 5 minutes on each side until nicely dark brown. Remove from pan to a platter until ready to simmer in the sauce.

Gravy:

Brown the short ribs, chicken and sausage first, or as you start making the sauce. Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium high. Season chicken and short ribs with salt and pepper. Brown chicken, short ribs and sausage in batches, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove meat to platter, cover until ready to simmer in the sauce.

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium or medium low heat. Add garlic, simmer one minute.   Add onion, simmer until translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add ground sausage, turn heat up to medium high and brown, breaking up into little pieces with your wooden spoon. When sausage is brown (about 5-8 minutes) add tomato paste. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, mixing often, another 5 minutes. Turn down the heat if needed and make sure not to burn the pot. Add wine and mix, stirring up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot, and simmer 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, water, salt, pepper, sugar, dried oregano, dried basil, red pepper flakes, raise heat to bring to a boil stirring often. Add the short ribs to the pot and reduce heat to a steady simmer. Partially cover pot and simmer for at least two hours until the short ribs are soft and sauce is desired thickness. An hour before the sauce is done add the sausage and chicken to the pot. 30 minutes before the sauce is done add the meatballs to the pot, along with the fresh basil. Along the way skim fat that rises to the sauce surface if desired.

Remove all the meat from the pot. Sausages can be kept whole, or each sliced diagonally into 2 pieces (or more pieces if individually plating). If chicken pieces are being kept whole discard the skin if desired. Or you can remove the thigh (and breast if using) meat from the bones and shred into large pieces, discarding the bones. Legs and wings keep whole. Slide out the short rib bones and discard. Trim off the bottom fatty layer. Cut each piece of short rib into 2-3 nice pieces depending upon their size. Ladle some sauce over the sausage, chicken and short ribs and cover until serving. Meatballs should be lightly covered if not serving immediately, if tightly covered and very hot they can steam cook and change texture and some flavor profile.

Add ¼ cup of the freshly grated Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheese to the sauce. Stir and simmer a few minutes until blended in. Taste for seasoning, adjust salt and pepper if desired. (You can also blend in 1-2 tablespoons of room temperature butter if you want to go crazy).

And then enjoy your beautiful Sunday Gravy with your family and friends!

How to serve

Serve sauce over pasta and the meat on a platter covered with more sauce. Or we love to serve full prepared bowls including pasta, meatball, short rib, chicken and sausage in each. And if there’s meat left over put it on a platter on the table. Either way, pass cheese, and heated bread to soak up the delicious gravy. We like a lot of gravy – we don’t “gently coat” our pasta when we have Sunday Gravy!

Note: If a thicker sauce is desired, cook longer without the finished meat in it; or can add a little additional tomato paste and simmer in to combine. For thinner sauce, loosen with some more chicken stock or tomatoes along the way.

Buon appetito!

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