Friday, March 9, 2012

Product Review: Williams-Sonoma's Italian Braising Gravy

I haven't reviewed a product in a while so I thought I'd write one up on a item I recently used.  The item is Williams-Sonoma's Italian Braising Gravy.

Italian Braising Gravy

Here's Williams-Sonoma's description:

On Sundays, Italian American kitchens are filled with the rich, savory aroma of tomato sauce mixed with braised meat simmering on the stovetop. The sauce goes by lots of names, from “Sunday Gravy” to “Mamma’s Sauce.” It’s always made with love, and every family is convinced their recipe is the best. We make Sunday supper easy with our own version of this legendary all-purpose sauce.
  • A nostalgic Italian-American blend of Italian tomatoes, fresh garlic and basil, sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil with a splash of red wine, then slowly simmered for authentic homemade flavor.
  • Just braise with your family’s favorite meat and serve over pasta.
  • 32 oz., 2 lb.
  • Can be used in a slow cooker as well as the oven.
Tomato puree (water, tomato paste), tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, concentrated beef stock, garlic, beef, pork, red wine, sea salt, basil, onion concentrate (onion juice, sunflower oil), pepper, sugar

Sells for $16.95.  Here is the link to the product:  Italian Braising Gravy

Well, the description is what got my attention on this one.  I wanted my house to smell of the savory aroma of Italian kitchens too!  So I bought some and couldn't wait to try it out.  I had just the dish for it too.

Braised Boneless Short Ribs served with Fettuccine. 

This was a great slow cooker meal.  One that didn't take a lot of prep, hence the braising sauce, and produced some tender meat that simmered in the sauce until it fell apart.  I served it on a bed of pasta, fettuccine to be exact.  Here is the end result.

The verdict:  While the dish was good, meat was tender, and it went well with the pasta, the sauce was just ok.  Nothing really to brag about.  I think that it really had a deep flavor, possibly from the beef stock and wine, but it lacked a little" tomatoey" taste that I like.  Being that this is expensive, I would probably just go buy a couple of jars of my favorite marinara sauce and use that instead.  Even better, make my own braising sauce with some crushed tomatoes, wine, garlic...some herbs.  Voila! A wonderful braising sauce.

So while I love Williams-Sonoma's products, this on didn't flip my skirt up.  Sorry guys!  Back to the drawing board for me on this sauce...but try the recipe, it is yummy, but make the substitutions to suit your taste if you like.

Braised Boneless Short Ribs served with Fettuccine 

serves 4

3 lb Boneless beef short ribs
1 jar of Williams-Sonoma's Italian Braising Gravy  or  2 large jars of marinara sauce
12 oz Fettuccine
1 oz Spinach
Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

In a slow cooker place boneless beef short ribs.  Pour braising sauce over the top of the meat.  Cook in slow cooker on high for 4 hours or on low 6 hours.

Prior to serving bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to manufacturer's instructions.  

Remove meat from the slow cooker and place in the center of a platter.  Add pasta to the remaining sauce in the crock pot and toss to coat.  Add spinach to pot and stir until slightly wilted.  Place pasta on the platter around the meat.  Garnish with cheese if desired.  Serve.

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