Italian Gravy, Also Known as Spaghetti Sauce with Meat

Reader Contribution by Renea Winchester
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In many parts of the country, primarily the Northern states, spaghetti sauce is called “gravy.” There is quite the controversy as to whether “sauce” or “gravy” is the correct definition, but that’s not the point of this post. In the South where I’m from gravy is something we make using bacon drippings, flour, salt, pepper and milk. We serve it over biscuits, usually for breakfast, and it’s delicious. However, today this little southerner would like you to try this recipe for (non-southern, Yankee-inspired, Italian gravy).

First, I must give a shout-out to my Yankee friend, Cat Blanco, owner of The Book Exchange in Marietta, Georgia. I’ve known Cat for several years. She was the first independent bookseller to give In the Garden with Billy shelf-space. From there we have grown to be true friends. She hand-sells my books working hard to support not only me, but other authors throughout the south. She plans fantastic author events, and her bookstore is the heartbeat of the community … so much so that she is known as The Mayor of Canton Road (where The Book Exchange is located).

Every author should have a friend like Cat Blanco.

It seems only natural that with this enduring friendship we should swap recipes and so when I gave her a jar of my tomato sauce, the recipe can be found here, she used the sauce to create the traditional Italian gravy.

My gravy tastes nothing like hers. She has years of experience, and Italian blood running through her veins. For example: She adds a shredded carrot in the cooking process, because it gives the gravy a bit of sweetness. Feel free to do the same.

Note: this is a slow cooker recipe, which is perfect for Sunday dinner.


One pork butt
Teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons basil
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons oregano
1 large garlic clove, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Spaghetti sauce
1 cup red wine
1 small carrot shredded

The Process:

Sauté garlic clove in one tablespoon of olive oil. 

Add remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in slow-cooker.

Rub the pork butt with seasonings and add to slow-cooker. Add garlic on top of roast.

Cook pork but on low 8-10 hours.

Remove cooked roast from the cooker and drain juices and fat. You may discard this or save juices to make dog treats (recipe to follow in a later blog post).

Shred roast with a fork and return to crock pot.

Add 1 cup of wine.

Add 1 pint of tomato sauce.

Cook all day (8-10 hours) on low. (This is crucial. The pork needs to absorb the juices and the flavor of the sauce in order to form “Gravy.”)

Store in refrigerator overnight.

The following day you can serve the gravy with pasta. I prefer the gravy as a stand-alone dish with a side of buttered garlic bread.

For those of us in a hurry (and aren’t we all?), this is the perfect dish to bring to family reunions.

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of several e-book collections and three traditionally-published non-fiction books including her latest: Farming, Friends and Fried Bologna Sandwiches from Mercer University Press. Find more recipes such as this one in her book. She is passionate about heritage seeds and saving daffodils. When she isn’t digging in the dirt she is hoarding canning jars and reading good books. She also posts on her blog, Bloggin’ Billy’s. Find her also at Renea Winchester.

  • Published on Jul 19, 2016
Tagged with: Reader Contributions
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