Recipe: Sunday Gravy aka Meat Sauce

I somehow ended up with a great dinner (and then breakfast) based on two cookbooks based on fictional families, The Sopranos Family Cookbook: As Compiled by Artie Bucco and Food To Die For: Secrets From Kay Scarpetta’s Kitchen.

First, was the Sunday Gravy from The Soprano’s cookbook, modified only slightly to make smooth sauce rather than chunky. I put the whole tomatoes in my VitaMix and blended them up. You could also chop with scissors or just leave them whole and let them fall apart a bit as they cook.

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 pound meaty pork spareribs
  • 1 pound veal stew meat
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 pound meatballs, preferably made from pork and beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 3 28-oz cans pureed tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 cups water (use the cans to rinse out all the tomato juice!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh basil, 6-8 leaves torn or chopped into small pieces

Heat the oil in a heavy pot large enough to hold everything. Brown the pork, turning now and then, about 15 minutes. Take the pork out and put it on a plate. Brown the veal, about 10-15 minutes, turning periodically, then take it out and add it to the plate. Brown the sausage, 10-15 minutes, then take it out and add to the plate.

Drain the excess fat, leaving about 1 Tbs in the pot. Cook the garlic one minute, flattening and turning now and then to flavor the oil. Take the garlic out and discard it.

Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, and basil leaves. Stir until the paste is mixed in well.  Add the meats back in. Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 2 hours or so. Stir periodically.

Add the meatballs and cook another half an hour. If the sauce becomes too thick, add some water. If it’s not thick enough, take the cover off the last half an hour.

At this point, you can serve take the meats out and serve the sauce over cooked pasta, with the meat as a second course or alongside. Or make lasagna with the sausage and meatballs and sauce and save the pork and veal for another meal.

I made lasagna.



  1. […] This is from How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition): 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food, but made with one-third the meat because I had just 1/2 pound left from when I made Sunday Gravy. […]


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