This sauce goes by many names, including Sunday sauce, since that's the day it's traditionally made, but for me growing up, this was just called 'sauce.' As long as you cook the meat long enough, and season thoughtfully, there's really no way this sauce isn't going to be great. So, while you may not have grown up in an Italian-American home, with this comforting sauce simmering on the stove every Sunday, your family still can. Serve the sauce over pasta and top with the tender meat.

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Ingredients

10
Original recipe yields 10 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

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  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Place beef, pork, and chicken in pan and turn to coat with olive oil.

  • Roast in the preheated oven until meat is well browned, 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir onion with a pinch of salt in hot oil until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  • Pour crushed tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups water, and tomato paste into onion mixture. Add roasted beef, pork, and chicken to tomato sauce mixture.

  • Pour remaining 1/2 cup water into the roasting pan, and bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Pour roasting pan water mixture into tomato mixture. Stir Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Italian parsley, 2 teaspoons salt, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes into tomato sauce; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and simmer gently until sauce reduces and meat is tender, about 4 hours. Transfer meat to a dish. Adjust sauce seasonings to taste.

Cook's Note:

Any canned tomato product will work. If using whole canned tomatoes, pour them into a large bowl and crush them with your hands.

Nutrition:

The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of the beef, pork, and chicken. The actual amount of meat consumed will vary.

Partner Tip

Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

339 calories; 19.6 g total fat; 71 mg cholesterol; 916 mg sodium. 20.3 g carbohydrates; 23.2 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (37)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
04/11/2014
I have it simmering on my stove now and it is the best sauce I've ever made and I'm an old Italian fuss. I added the ingredients Chef John puts in his Tomato Sauce recipe also on this site i.e. 1 rib celery 2 tea sugar 1 tea anchovy paste 1 tea white wine vinegar and 1/2 tea dried Italian herbs. It is so heavenly and old fashion tasting it almost brings tears to my eyes. Read More
(60)
44 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 36
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
04/11/2014
I have it simmering on my stove now and it is the best sauce I've ever made and I'm an old Italian fuss. I added the ingredients Chef John puts in his Tomato Sauce recipe also on this site i.e. 1 rib celery 2 tea sugar 1 tea anchovy paste 1 tea white wine vinegar and 1/2 tea dried Italian herbs. It is so heavenly and old fashion tasting it almost brings tears to my eyes. Read More
(60)
Rating: 5 stars
04/11/2014
I have it simmering on my stove now and it is the best sauce I've ever made and I'm an old Italian fuss. I added the ingredients Chef John puts in his Tomato Sauce recipe also on this site i.e. 1 rib celery 2 tea sugar 1 tea anchovy paste 1 tea white wine vinegar and 1/2 tea dried Italian herbs. It is so heavenly and old fashion tasting it almost brings tears to my eyes. Read More
(60)
Rating: 5 stars
04/16/2014
So this is how my mother in law taught me to make sauce. We brown the meat bones in the pot we cook the sauce in rather than in the oven. The brown bits are already there. The meatballs we do cook on a cookie sheet in the oven We also add a little vino. Red or white works. We eat it that day and freeze the leftovers in single meal containers or freezer bags. Read More
(48)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/04/2014
Made as directed as usual when Chef John is the one cooking. Simmered for 4 hours removed meat (which was tender / falling off of the bone) simmered for another hour to let the sauce reduce a bit more and served it with garlic bread and fresh local pasta. Really a treat. I really want to suggest not pureeing the tomatoes or using tomato sauce - using your hands to break up the San Marzano's like instructed provides some great texture. A 5/5! Read More
(33)
Rating: 5 stars
11/01/2014
the best part is no sugar in it i dont know why people insist on adding it it aint desert Read More
(15)
Rating: 5 stars
04/19/2015
JUST like my grandmother used to make -- (except she fried her paste with the onions until it turned a rich brown - AND she added a few leaves of basil - you've GOT to add the basil):-) Thanks for the recipe! Read More
(11)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/13/2017
Have been making this for years and I use a pot roast which I slice in thirds if it is a round type but if I can find it I use a chuck blade roast as it is already flat. I also use pork chops or country style pork ribs and sometimes I add sweet Italian sausage if I have it. I brown in a dutch oven and then brown my tomato paste a bit and add my San Marzano after deglazing the pan with wine. Plenty of garlic is the key! It cooks for between 4 and 5 hours and it is sheer heaven. Nothing more soul satisfying than Sunday sauce! Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
11/02/2014
This looks just like the sauce my grandmother and aunts used to make. I've gotten away from putting meat in my sauce and really hate ground meat in sauce. Think I'll go back to this method. From my memories this is awesome. When Grandma made polenta the sauce she used was like this only she used Italian sausage simmered in the sauce - it was outstanding. Thanks Chef John for the walk down memory lane and for a keeper. Read More
(10)
Rating: 5 stars
04/20/2015
Very good sauce! Reminded me of the sauce my Northern Italian grandmother and my mother made with deep rich flavors. I used whatever meat I had on hand which included pork chops and a small sirloin. I threw in a couple browned Italian sausages toward the end. I browned the meat in the stockpot instead of the oven though. Removed the browned meat sweated the onions and garlic in the pot then deglazed the pot with a little red wine before adding the tomatoes seasonings and water and returning the browned meat to the pot. Thank you Chef John for reminding me that not all sauces need to have oregano and basil. Read More
(6)
Rating: 5 stars
04/19/2015
There are many variations of this. We went to my grandmother's every Sunday for her version. Chef John's looks excellent as usual. My grandmother canned her own tomatoes from Italy once or twice a year in her basement kitchen. The whole family got together to help. Memories. Today I use San Marzano tomatoes. Read More
(6)