A sauce with spirit
David Valicenti worked as a chef in New Orleans, where even a simple tomato sauce is often called “red gravy,’’ an expression southern Italian immigrants made popular. When he bottled his own sauce from organic tomatoes and basil grown on his family’s farm in Hollis, N.H., and started Valicenti Organico three years ago, the colloquialism stuck. Valicenti’s Red Gravy ($9.99 for a 1-quart jar) is made from ripe tomatoes that are roasted until almost caramelized, basil, and a touch of Marsala to tweak the sweetness. It is chunky and can boost the flavor of mussels, grilled chicken, or pasta. The chef and his business partner, Michelle Splaine, a pastry chef, also offer Arugula Pistachio Pesto, made with the farm’s organic greens, and a variety of fresh pastas, mostly at farmers’ markets. Red Gravy is available at City Feed and Supply, 672 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617- 524-1700; American Provisions, 613 East Broadway, South Boston, 617-269-6100; Wilson Farm, 10 Pleasant St., Lexington, 781-862-3900; at various farmers’ markets; or go to www.gimmiespaghetti.com.