Good Evening!

I am so excited to be writing this post!  The past week has been crazy slammed for me and Miss Amy has been doing most of the posting, but look out, I’m back! You got a little taste of Amy’s heritage last week with her southern dish, which by the way looked amazing!  This week we are gettin’ a little western and this Swiss – Italian girl is cooking home-style!  I decided that there is nothing that says Swiss-Italian tradition like ravioli and tomato gravy, the slight problem… I gave up pasta for Lent!  My family is not Catholic, I was raised in the Covenant Church with a lot of Lutheran tradition and as a family we celebrate Lent.  I chose to give up processed carbs and sweets, it has been a little rough, but it’s supposed to be right?

This tomato gravy recipe is derived from Grandma Joses recipe.  Grandma Joses was very influential in my life as well as the lives of my parents, and it is her recipe that I used to create my own.  Grandma Joses was truly an amazing woman, she helped to run the ranch, she always had a smile, and she loved to feed a crowd.  She captured the heart of our heritage, always making the kitchen a place for family, and she sure knew how to mend the heart and soul with just the right dish.  I sadly don’t remember her very well anymore, she passed away when I was young, but aside from her recipes, I have memories of her crochet house shoes, her huge rolling-pin, and her sweet smile, not to mention the fact that we could wear shorts and tank tops year round in her house, she kept the wood stove loaded to say the least!  Grandma Joses served tomato gravy with homemade pasta, but most of the time ravioli… It is not really a sauce, it is very thick and meaty, just perfect for this girl!  I adjusted her recipe a little, I left out the secret ingredient (if you knew her, you know why! )  and I added a little bit of wine, because well, I love a tomato gravy cooked with wine.  So without any further jabber, kick off your boots, pour yourself a glass of red wine, turn up some Chris LeDoux (I was dancin’ around the kitchen to… Settin’ the woods on fire!), and head to the kitchen.

Traditional Beef Tomato Gravy

1 Medium size can of diced tomatoes
(home-grown and canned are my favorite)
1 Small can of tomato sauce
3 Small fresh tomatoes diced (they add that just picked flavor)
¼ Cup of red wine (optional, any kind will do, homemade if you have it)
½ Stick of butter
1 white onion
1 lb ground beef
4 T minced garlic (I buy it in the jar, way easy!)
1 t sugar
Oregano, Thyme, Basil, Salt, and Pepper to taste
Additionally, you will need a spaghetti squash or your favorite pasta.

Start the base for your gravy first; it will need to simmer for a bit.  So combine the canned tomatoes, the tomato sauce, the fresh diced tomatoes, butter, red wine, and seasonings in a large skillet pan with a lid.  Cover it and let it simmer on medium heat for 20 min.  While it is simmering, chop up the onions, and brown them with the ground beef and the garlic.  I choose to drain the meat and onions in a colander if it is real greasy.  While the ground beef is browning, it is time to prepare the spaghetti squash.  Pierce the rind with your knife (be very careful) and put the entire squash in the microwave on high until the rind begins to dent in (Approximately 12 min).  Then slice it in half, spoon out the seeds, and use a spoon to put the inside of the squash into a bowl.  Next, add a slab of butter, a dash of salt, and a dash of sugar, stir and let sit for a minute.  Prior to combining the meat and tomato mixture add 1 t sugar to the tomato mixture and stir, then, add the meat and onion combo.  Stir around and let simmer together on low heat for a few minutes.  Next serve the tomato gravy on top of the spaghetti squash!

I served this with spaghetti squash which is delicious but is not quite a substitute for pasta.  See growing up, pasta was its own food group!  Like I said we eat a lot of Italian style food, and a lot of pasta.  Pasta is hard to beat, but homemade pasta is to die for!  After Easter, I plan to post my great grandmother’s ravioli recipe and you will be able to learn how to make your own pasta at home, so much fun and great for the kiddos to help with, but it truly is an all day event!

Cost of Traditional Beef Tomato Gravy With Spaghetti Squash

Tomatoes – $0.30
Diced Canned Tomatoes – $0.92
Tomato Sauce – $0.30
Onion – $0.46
Ground Beef – $0.99 (we found this on sale!!!!)
Spaghetti Squash – $3.11
Total Cost = $6.08 (Serves 4)
Cost Per Serving = $1.52

I hope that you have enjoyed this taste of my Swiss-Italian heritage, this girl sure enjoyed sharing it with you!  Gather up your family, head to the table and enjoy a great meal, this beautiful weather, and always to remember to count your blessings; we have so much to be thankful for!

 Take Care Friends,

Anna-Lisa

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