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Italian Red Gravy

This recipe originally was handed down to Marie Greunke from Mary Richards. I love how they call this gravy instead of spaghetti sauce. The original recipe included a lot of oil and several spices have been added.

The gravy is actually much thinner than a traditional sauce and is best eaten with a spoon. Raviolis and smaller pasta are best.


  • 1 oz. Dried mushrooms
  • 3/4 Lb Ground hamburger
  • 1 Med. onion, chopped
  • 2 - 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 1 - 15 oz can of peeled, whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 - 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbs Fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • several dashes of Worsteshire sauce
  • several dashes of garlic powder
  • several dashes of onion powder


  1. Boil mushrooms and 2 cups of water for 3 minutes in a small pot. After that reduce to a simmer. Save water for use in gravy.
  2. Add oil to large pot. Brown hamburger, add onion when half way into the browning.
  3. Add parsley when browned, cook five minutes over low heat.
  4. Add rest of seasonings and cook for one more minute.
  5. Strain water from mushrooms and save, add a little to the pot if meat is sticking.
  6. Chop mushrooms into small pieces and add to hamburger.
  7. Add mushroom liquor to pot.
  8. Smoosh tomatoes with hands until there are no large pieces left. Add tomatoes with juice to the pot.
  9. Add tomato sauce and 4 cans of water.
  10. Gently boil 20 minutes without a lid, stirring occasionally. 
  11. Put lid on pot, lower heat and simmer for 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

By Tammy Greunke