Sunday gravy only sounds like one of those fast, unfussy, one-pot dishes. There’s the stuffing of the braciole, the mixing and shaping of the meatballs, the browning of the sausages. There’s the layering of the stock, amplified with bones and meat, simmered for hours. It’s no wonder that many Italian-American families have abandoned the tradition of weekly meals around this rich, time-consuming sauce. It’s a shame, too — gravy is glorious.
Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja grew up in Brooklyn on her grandmother’s, and the version she serves at Saul Bolton’s new restaurant, Red Gravy, is part of a $45 prix-fixe dinner, available only on Sundays.
Nurdjaja builds it with lamb ribs, cured with fennel seeds, pepper, and orange zest; a complex braciole made from short ribs sliced off the bone, filled with hard-boiled eggs and breadcrumbs; and a house-made sausage of pork shoulder and back fat. The gravy’s meatballs, available the rest of the week on a bed of polenta or spaghetti (seen above), are here in abundance, spiked with fennel confit. Nurdjaja browns the meat separately, deglazing with red wine, and finally simmers everything together, gently.
The result is a deeply meaty and multifaceted sauce. Eat it with fresh paccheri, a wide tubular pasta that’s also made in-house, and you’ll get why Bolton named his restaurant after it. For more on Red Gravy, read this week’s restaurant review here.
Red Gravy, 151 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-855-0051
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 27, 2013