Skip's New Orleans Style Red Gravy

 Skip's recipe for red gravy takes a tomato based sauce to a whole new dimension.  His recipe has evolved over the years, and now includes Joey's Italian seasoned chicken meatballs.  Skip will make the trek to Lafayette to make sure he includes these meatballs in his red gravy.  Cento tomato paste and San Marzano whole-peeled tomatoes are also a must for this recipe.  

Red gravy was brought to New Orleans by Italian immigrants, and is served with meatball po'boys, paneed chicken or simply over pasta.  If you're in New Orleans, don't be surprised if some asks "ya want red gravy wit dat?

Skip's New Orleans Style Red Gravy


6 lbs meatballs

3 pounds mild Italian sausage

31/2 to 4 pounds pork spare ribs

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh minced garlic

5 tablespoons Cento Tomato paste

1/2 cup water

7  28-ounce cans San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes

1/3 cup  fresh oregano leaves and tender stems

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 bunch of  parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Place the meatballs, sausage and ribs on baking sheets and bake until browned.  The amount of time will depend on the size of the meatballs and the weight of the sausage and ribs. 

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large pot.  Add the garlic and stir frequently until lightly browned.  Remove the pot from heat and stir in the tomato paste and water and stir until combined.  Place the pot back on low heat.

Working with one can of tomatoes at a time, puree in a blender.  Add the pureed tomatoes to the pot, and increase to medium heat.  Remove the stems from the oregano and coarsely chop the leaves.   Add the oregano leaves to the pot along with the salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.  

When the meatballs, ribs and  sausage are browed remove from the oven.  Add the meatballs, and any pan juices to the gravy.  Place the ribs on a cutting board with the meatier side faced down.   Cut in between each rib bone to separate the ribs. Add the ribs to the pot of gravy.  Cut the sausage into bite size pieces and add to the gravy.  Continue to simmer the red gravy unit the meat is falling off of the ribs, about 1-2 hours.

 Using long tongs, remove all of the ribs and place on a cutting board.  Cut the rib meat off of the bones, and return the rib meat to the red gravy.  Add the chopped parsley to the red gravy and serve over pasta.