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Red Sauce vs. Gravy. Chef Jonathan Has the Answer.


Blame It on Paulie.

Spend a few minutes with Long Island, NY Chef, Jonathan Scinto, and he’ll take you back to Sunday dinners at Grandma Jennie’s home in Queens. Those memories and a dedication to authentic Italian foods have been a driving force in the DNA of this successful Food Network and celebrity chef. Who better to answer the question of whether true Italians call a tomato-based sauce “gravy” or “red sauce”?

“Sundays at grandma’s house are imbedded in my memory as she painstakingly made her red sauce. I call it “Sunday Sauce,” says Scinto. “It would take hours, and the smells were incredible. Wonderful tomatoes cooking down with a little oil, garlic, shallots and her specially selected meats like beef short ribs, Italian sausage, pork bone and a little wine. The flavor was incredible.”

Hollywood created the confusion because gravy is brown, not red. So never associate gravy with something that loves to live on pasta.”

Chef Jonathan Scinto
TV Celebrity Chef

Like the scene from the movie Goodfellas, where Paulie carefully slices garlic with a razor blade, Grandma Jennie used her special paring knife to delicately slice her garlic see-through thin. It was one of her secrets that made her red sauce part of the Scinto family’s legend. Chef Jonathan says that gangster movies like Martin Scorsese’s 1990 Goodfellas mob classic and Tony Soprano in the HBO series have created a legend that true Italians called red sauce—gravy. “Hollywood created the confusion because gravy is brown, not red. So never associate gravy with something that loves to live on pasta.” At grandma Jennie’s more often than not, her red sauce went on rice.

“She was from the old country where pasta was expensive,” says Scinto. “She would build her dish made with thin layers of rice, then red sauce, then rice like a lasagna, and it was delicious.”

Scinto is also convinced that Red Gold® is the right choice for any foodservice operator. “I like to do business with family-owned and operated companies, because you get a very strong commitment to quality that you just don’t see from large corporations. I know Red Gold’s products are fresh tasting without a metallic taste that other brands do.” Scinto grew up with grandma using Tuttorosso – the #1 Italian Inspired canned tomato brand in the United States*. “That beautiful Tuttorosso label is burned into my memory as the gold standard for quality, and I use them in all of my cooking.”


Tuttorosso®, made by Red Gold®, is now available to foodservice. Try our Fresh packed, fully prepared Marinara or Pizza Sauce made with only the freshest, vine-ripened tomatoes and premium spices go into these fresh-packed, fully prepared sauces! Taste the savory, sweet, rich flavor today by requesting a free sample today.

Scinto met Red Gold during the World Food Championships where he performed a demonstration of his “Grandma Jennie’s Sunday Sauce” using Red Gold Crushed Tomatoes which you can download now.

Scinto has appeared on Food Network’s Master Chefs and Chopped competitions. His own “Family Kitchen Revival” show can be found on Amazon Prime and Roku within the Glewed TV app. The series finds the chef helping families pay back friends that helped them overcome a major life challenge by preparing a family meal. Learn more about Chef Jonathan Scinto at his website

*IRI Canned & Bottled Tomatoes, Italian Positioned Brands, Total US-MULO, Latest 52 Weeks Ending 5/16/21