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This is the Sunday morning "gravy" that will energize the appetites of all in the house. Keep a few meatballs on the side for an early morning snack.


Recipe Summary test

45 mins
3 hrs 5 mins
30 mins
4 hrs 20 mins
16 servings


Original recipe yields 16 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified


Instructions Checklist
  • Break stale bread into very small pieces and add to a large bowl. Add beef, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and use wet hands to roll mixture into meatballs.

  • Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Brown meatballs on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer meatballs to a platter. Add sausage and pork ribs to the skillet and brown, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to the platter with the meatballs.

  • Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in an 8- to 10-quart pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add whole tomatoes and mash using a potato masher. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato puree; cook, stirring frequently.

  • Add browned sausage and ribs to the pot. Stir in sugar, basil, bay leaf, and oregano. Cook until bubbling with lid ajar, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to lowest setting and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, about 1 hour. Stir in red wine. Continue cooking about 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours more.

  • Remove sauce from heat and cover. Let sit 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  • Return sauce to medium heat and add meatballs. Cook, stirring frequently, until bubbling, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to lowest setting until ready to serve.

Cook's Notes:

You can use 3/4 pound each beef and pork, or 1/2 pound each beef, pork, and veal, if you prefer. Italian spices can be substituted for the oregano.

When taking lid off to stir, do not let the water that accumulates on the lid go back in the pot.

I usually freeze at least two quarts of this gravy for later use.

Nutrition Facts

392 calories; protein 22.3g; carbohydrates 17.5g; fat 24.7g; cholesterol 78.9mg; sodium 1074.5mg. Full Nutrition