Homemade Tomato Sauce: Italian Gravy & Meatballs

This recipe is from Suzanne at Blueberry Cottage. She writes, "There was always a big pot of gravy on the stove Saturday's, simmering away for Sunday dinner. The smell of it cooking is heavenly! The meatballs and sausage were cooked right in the gravy and if Nana had a pork chop or slice of sirloin hanging around that was thrown in also. You were also encouraged to "boon" a piece of Italian bread in that big pot too.

After the gravy has cooled you can freeze in ziploc bags or whatever you like to store in. This is a great way to get a few meals ahead and have light cooking duty some eves. Or if you get called to make a meal for someone sick you have it ready so it isn't a burden to make one."

Italian Gravy
2 -28 cans crushed tomatoes
2-28 cans tomato puree
4 cans of water--use the 28oz size cans for this
1-8oz can tomato paste
6 cloves garlic, chopped rough
2lbs sweet or hot sausage, cut each link into 3 pieces
1 cup red wine, cabernet or merlot
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups parm/romano cheese grated or more if you like it cheesey
S&P to taste
2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
4 basil leaves
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons sugar
*you can adjust spices to how you like it adding more or less

In a large stockpot heat the pan on med heat. When the pan is hot add the olive oil and the garlic and sausage quickly. *Hot pan, cold oil, foods won't stick! Turn the temp down a bit and brown the sausage and garlic then add the wine. Don't let the garlic burn. Let simmer for 5 minutes and add the tomatoes , water and paste. Stir to combine good and add all the rest except add your cheese last. Turn the temp to med/low about 4-5 on electric and cover partially and let simmer. Now you will add the meatballs...
2 lbs ground chuck/hamburger
3-4 lbs of ground pork or pork/veal mix
1 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 cup milk
S&P to taste
1.5 cups Parm /Romano cheese
1/8 cup garlic powder
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
Mix this all together. Form into balls the size you would like and drop in the pan. If your pan isn't large enough to hold all the balls you can bake some in a 350 oven for 20 minutes and add to the gravy later. Simmer all this for about 6 hours stirring every 20-30 minutes or so. Adjust seasonings and cheese as the gravy cooks.

Serve over pasta, make pizza, grinders or boon that bread in a nice bowl of gravy!

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