Mama's Tomato "Gravy" (Red Sauce)

It's holiday season, and time to make huge quantities of tomato gravy for holiday dinners ... this photo includes meatballs (see other listing on this site), but also for manicotti, spaghetti, chicken parm, and lots of other great menus.

Here's The Empty Nester Gourmet's recipe, adapted from my mom's (which was adapted from her mom's ... and on and on!).

Give yourself ample time to put this together ... choose a rainy or snowy day ... because it needs hours to simmer on the stove-top to come to its full flavor.

Cook ... and enjoy! Buon appetito!


1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 pork neck bones
Canned San Marzano tomatoes -- 90 oz.
One 6 oz. can tomato purée
1 c. sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Red wine (1/2 to 1 c.)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 c. parsley, chopped finely
1/4 c. sweet basil, chopped finely
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. sugar
Salt and pepper


1. Heat olive oil in dutch oven
2. Salt and pepper the pork bones
3. Sauté the pork bones all over until browned and crispy on all sides.

4. Remove pork bones and sauté onion and garlic in fat renderings. Add olive oil if needed.

5. When onion is translucent, deglaze with red wine.
6. Sauté for a few minutes, until alcohol has evaporated.
7. Add one 6 oz. can tomato purée. Cook four minutes, add salt, pepper and 90 oz. peeled San Marzano tomatoes.

8. Add red pepper flakes, bay leaves, pork bones, oregano and parsley. Using a pair of wide tongs, squeeze tomatoes so they are crushed.
9. Add 1/2 c. red wine.

10. Simmer 2 or more hours, or until sauce is thickened and all ingredients have blended in flavor. Stir in basil.

At this point, you can serve or freeze or refrigerate ... or divide into batches ... freeze some, serve some!

Tarte aux Pommes (Apple Tart)

A delectable sweet treat, au Français. Wonderful straight up, or topped with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. So simple to prepare, yet so sophisticated. Crust is a buttery pate brisée, partially baked. Once cooled, it is brushed with melted strawberry jam, and filled to the brim with thinly sliced Granny Smith and Red Delicious apples, which have been macerated in lemon juice, orange juice, a healthy sprinkle of granulated sugar and a generous grinding of nutmeg. Topped off with more melted jam, baked 'til apples are tender, then popped under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Voila! The very best apple tarte to serve your v.s.a. (very special amis).