My mother's family originally came from Sicily and every family member makes his or her own version - this version came most recently via Brooklyn. If there are any leftovers, they freeze very well. MANGIA! Serve with red wine and a good loaf of crusty Italian bread.

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Ingredients

24
Original recipe yields 24 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Meatballs:
Sauce:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • To make the meatballs, combine bread and milk or water in a medium bowl. Mix in ground beef, eggs, Romano cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Form golf ball-sized meatballs; place into freezer to firm up.

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  • To make sauce, heat olive oil in a large pot on medium heat; stir in onion. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and 1 sausage link; cook about 3 minutes more.

  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, brown beef chunks and pork neck bones; set aside.

  • When onions and garlic are done, turn heat down to low. Add tomato paste and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the browned beef and pork, crushed tomatoes, wine, bay leaves, cinnamon, parsley, basil, and salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 to 4 hours.

  • Once you add the meatballs, let sauce simmer for 1 hour. When sauce is nearly ready, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Cover pasta with sauce and meatballs and serve immediately.

Cook's Notes:

Use your favorite meat and Italian red wine for this sauce and serve with your favorite pasta. This also is a great pizza sauce if you leave out about half of the meat.

Tips

Remove pork neck bones before serving. If you freeze the sauce, let it thaw and add 1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce to thin it slightly, if needed.

Nutrition Facts

669.1 calories; 30.8 g protein; 58.6 g carbohydrates; 105.3 mg cholesterol; 921.5 mg sodium. Full Nutrition

Reviews (32)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
04/17/2003
I have always considered myself an excellent saucemaker. However I made this sauce for my Sicilian husband and he absolutely loved it! I used a little more red wine than called for to get a little different flavor. I also made it a meat sauce instead of making meatballs. I added ground beef AND ground pork to the recipe instead of the brisket. Unbelievable! The flavor of the sauce really stuck to the pasta (I used rigatoni) and the aroma throughout the house was great. People could smell it from outside. Obviously I can't say enough. One of the best I've ever had! Read More
(71)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
12/15/2002
This may be easy for someone with more cooking experience to read between the lines. Steps MUST be missing because I had ingredients I never used. The meatballs wouldn't even stay together... i ended up throwing them out. Sorry... but this was a MESS for me (and a waste of money). Read More
(10)
35 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 30
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 5 stars
04/17/2003
I have always considered myself an excellent saucemaker. However I made this sauce for my Sicilian husband and he absolutely loved it! I used a little more red wine than called for to get a little different flavor. I also made it a meat sauce instead of making meatballs. I added ground beef AND ground pork to the recipe instead of the brisket. Unbelievable! The flavor of the sauce really stuck to the pasta (I used rigatoni) and the aroma throughout the house was great. People could smell it from outside. Obviously I can't say enough. One of the best I've ever had! Read More
(71)
Rating: 5 stars
04/17/2003
I have always considered myself an excellent saucemaker. However I made this sauce for my Sicilian husband and he absolutely loved it! I used a little more red wine than called for to get a little different flavor. I also made it a meat sauce instead of making meatballs. I added ground beef AND ground pork to the recipe instead of the brisket. Unbelievable! The flavor of the sauce really stuck to the pasta (I used rigatoni) and the aroma throughout the house was great. People could smell it from outside. Obviously I can't say enough. One of the best I've ever had! Read More
(71)
Rating: 5 stars
12/10/2006
This was amazing - the whole family felt like we were eating at a fine Italian restaurant. This recipe is not difficult and is SURE to impress others. My kids keep telling me how great it was. I don't understand how another reviewer had ingredients left over (?) she must have skipped a step because everything is used and the instructions are very descriptive. Read More
(24)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/31/2004
If you are looking for a great tasting hearty meat sauce then you have definitely found it. This sauce is easy to make and full of flavor...don't leave out the pork neck bones. Excellent! Mr Gerry...thank you for sharing this one! Read More
(18)
Rating: 5 stars
02/05/2006
my wife's family are sicilian. When I made this sauce My father in law thought I had found out his family's secert recipe. Its a real good sauce I used ground chuck and ground pork in the sauce and meatballs. Its not as good as my father in laws but it's near close. Read More
(16)
Rating: 5 stars
04/14/2006
Wow. This was great. I scaled the recipe down to make sure we would like it first since I didn't have all ing. on hand and I really wanted to try this recipe. I didn't have brisket and I used lean ground beef in its place. Omitted the bay leaf because we don't like personal preference and added oregano. Used Italian Sausage I had on hand and took it out of casing. I did go out and get pork neck bones and I'm glad I did because I really think this is what adds to the flavor if using ground beef. This was really good and when I go shopping this weekend I'll pick up the original to recipe and try. Then I'll scale it up to freeze. Great flavor thanks so much for the post. Read More
(13)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/13/2008
Hardy rich wonderful sauce we added 1 1/2c extra Pinot noir also because we were short on time we pressure cooked it for 40 min then finished simmering when we added the meatballs for 30 in pressure cooker. One of the better sauces we've made from this site Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
11/25/2002
Very very delicious. I'm not sure about the 4 onions...I used one good sized medium onion which was plenty sufficient. Wonderful flavor...my house smelled like a fine Italian restaurant for 2 days!! Thank you! Read More
(10)
Rating: 1 stars
12/15/2002
This may be easy for someone with more cooking experience to read between the lines. Steps MUST be missing because I had ingredients I never used. The meatballs wouldn't even stay together... i ended up throwing them out. Sorry... but this was a MESS for me (and a waste of money). Read More
(10)
Rating: 5 stars
10/04/2006
i just used the sauce part of this recipe but next time i will try the meatballs. i thought this was excellent! the addition of the neck bones gave it a really good flavor and i thought the seasoning was quite tasty. i did happen to add some crushed red pepper which made it taste better. it was a tad bland before that addition. paired this with 'the best meatballs' and it was a good meal! i'll be making this again:) Read More
(8)