Quick Tip: Caramelize Your Onions In “Sunday Gravy”

Red Sauce from Martin Kingsley
Red Sauce from Martin Kingsley

Caramalize Your Onions in Sunday Gravy

So, I got the chance to cook with Chef Jasper Mirabile (and his momma) last Wednesday.  His knowledge of cooking is absolutely amazing and he gave his class a lot of tips.  There was one, though, that really stuck with me.

During the class, we made world famous Mirabile family Sunday gravy, the recipe of which I won’t get into here.  (However, I can tell you he made me a believer in slow cooking my sauce with sausage, especially the amazing sausage he has made for his restaurant, but I digress.)  Now, in case you haven’t had the chance to read Chef Jasper’s cookbook or watch the Sopranos, “Sunday Gravy” is red (tomato based) pasta sauce. 

However, to just call it red sauce is to call a Porche a car.  Sunday gravy is slow cooked over two or three hours and is filled with meatballs and sausage that soak up the flavors of the sauce while gifting the flavor back to the Sunday Gravy.  But there is more than just meat in the Sunday Gravy.  There’s also basil, onion, and other spices (though no oregano) that make it the perfect pasta accompaniment.

The Tip

So, yeah, I’d like to make Sunday Gravy at home and in class, he told us to do something that made a lot of us go “Hrmm…”

As he was pouring ingredients into his pot, he mentioned that in most cases, people who make red sauce don’t cook their onions long enough.  He argues that it’s not enough to just get the onions soft, they have to be opaque and starting to turn brown.  That’s when the sugars really start to develop.  Once those sugars really come out, Chef argue that they add another layer of flavor to the overall dish.

So there it is: Cook your onions for about 10-12 minutes to really get the flavor going.

I’m Not Making Sunday Gravy

That’s okay.  If you are just putting together a quick marinara for friends or family or yourself, you should still caramelize the onions.  The flavor they impart are well worth the extra cooking time.

Now, get out there and enjoy!

Thanks to Martin Kingsley for the picture.

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