Monday, September 7, 2009

Tomato Gravy

I know that Italians refer to their tomato sauce as "gravy" but, trust me, this is not the Italian version. I'm breaking protocol here today with my alphabetical cooking, since I'm still on the letter "A". But there was no way I could wait until the letter "T" to give you this mouthwatering recipe. I believe it will quite possibly be the easiest thing you've made since toast and I think you'll thank me for finding such a delicious way to use up all of those tomatoes.

Here's the story. When I was growing up, my dad made tomato gravy every summer. Usually at the end of the summer when the fat, juicy, overripe tomatoes were falling off the vines. He served his over a bed of white rice. Oh, my god how I loved his tomato gravy! So this weekend, I met my friend Wayne at the Farmers Market. Outside, while waiting for him, I spotted big white boxes of huge, juicy tomatoes. I immediately took out my camera and began snapping away. When I got home, I called my dad to find out what his recipe was for tomato gravy. I couldn't reach him so I went on with my day. A few hours later, my mother called to tell me that she and my dad had been out shopping and saw two bags of big, juicy tomatoes. My dad immediately snatched them up thinking about his tomato gravy. He bought one bag for me and one bag for him. Call it Kismet. Call it clairvoyant. I call it a reason to make one of the best damn comfort foods I can ever remember. This tomato gravy is so simple. Only 3 main ingredients: butter, flour and tomatoes. That's it. I've made it for my lunch today just the way dad did; over a bed of white rice. I've just enough left over to heat it up tomorrow and mix it in with some linguine or shells and some fresh Parmesan cheese.

Tomato Gravy
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 large, ripe tomatoes
salt, pepper, garlic powder and fresh basil, if you have it.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the flour and wisk until thick and smooth. Chop up all of the tomatoes and add them to the roux. Make sure to add the pulp of the tomato too (the juice of the tomato is what makes the gravy). You will see the tomatoes begin to cook and turn in to a nice, thick gravy. There is no need to add any liquid! Season the gravy with salt, cracked black pepper, garlic powder and freh snipped basil. Turn it down to a low simmer while the rice cooks. Spoon it over a bed of rice and enjoy!

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