Just like grandma used to make! This Italian classic Sunday Gravy is one of the most requested meals in our home. The meats combined with the sweet flavor of the San Marzano tomatoes are simply perfect together! It's a little work, but well worth the effort. If you love it, you'll want to make a double batch since it freezes so well. Trust me.
- Beef short ribs
- Mild Italian sausage
- Hot Italian Sausage - Not a whole package! Your grocery store butcher should be able to provide you with just one. This will save you a little and prevent leftovers.
- Meatballs - If you're making homemade meatballs, I suggest making them a day ahead of time.
- Pepperoni - You will need a whole stick. I like to buy the Boars Head pepperoni.
- Tomatoes - San Marzano are the absolute best to use in this pasta sauce!
- Tomato paste - I like to keep a squeeze tube of tomato paste on hand with the recipe only calls for a few tablespoons.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is best.
- Carrot - This is optional, but it adds a little sweetness!
- Beef broth
- Red wine - I prefer a good cabernet or merlot.
- Italian seasoning
- Olive oil
- Salt (or to taste)
- Pepper (or to taste)
Note: Refer to the recipe card below for exact quantities.
Step One: Prep Ingredients
Dice onion and chop garlic. Using a food processor will help you save time.
Step Two: Season and Brown Meats
Season meats generously with salt and pepper. When browning, be sure to leave some room between each piece of meat. Add more oil if needed. I like to get a nice sear to seal in the juices.
Step Three: Cook Meatballs
After searing meatballs, place them on a sheet pan. It is helpful to use parchment paper to prevent making a mess. When meatballs have reached a safe internal temperature, remove them and let them cool down a bit before placing them in the refrigerator. They will be added back to the sauce 10 minutes prior to finish.
Step Four: Prepare Sauce
Using a stick blender is the easiest. If you don't have a stick blender, you can pour the contents into a blender and then return it to the dutch oven.
Step Five: Simmer
All meats are added back in for this step except for the meatballs. The meats will become tender and will add a delicious flavor to this sauce, especially the short ribs (because of the bones)! The meatballs are added in at the end to prevent over-cooking and to keep them from falling apart.
Step Six: Serve
Let the sauce cool completely before serving. We like to serve it over pasta and just leave the meat whole. Parmesan cheese makes it super delicious!
- Beef broth can be used in place of wine to deglaze the pan.
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- Dutch oven
- Stick blender
- Fry pan
- Wooden spoon
- Cutting board
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
This dish is freezer friendly.
Have leftover ingredients?
- Leftover meatballs and sauce could be used to make a meatball sub. Yum!
- Buy too much sausage? How about some grilled sausage and peppers.
- The excess sauce would also be great for dipping. Try it with fried eggplant, mozzarella cheese sticks, or our air fryer toasted ravioli.
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Use a large metal spoon and lightly glide it over the surface. It is easier to skim the fat off soups and sauces when they have been refrigerated. The fat hardens on the surface and can be removed much quicker.
Deglazing adds tremendous flavor. It's a great way to stir up the leftover caramelized bits and juices that are left behind from searing.
Sunday Gravy with Short Ribs
- 4 qty Bone-In beef short ribs
- 3 qty Mild Italian sausage
- 1 qty Hot Italian sausage
- 6-8 qty Meatballs (depending on size)
- 1 stick Pepperoni
- 2 lg cans San Marzano tomatoes
- 3 tablespoon Tomato paste
- 12 cloves Garlic
- 1 qty Onion
- 1 large Carrot
- 1 can Beef broth
- ¼ cup Red wine
- 1 cup Water
- 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning to taste
- ⅓ cup Olive oil
- 1 T Coarse salt (or to taste)
- ½ T Pepper (or to taste)
- Fresh basil
- Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (for meatballs only). Dice onion and chop garlic then set aside.
- Season all meats generously with coarse salt and ground pepper.
- Drizzle about half of the olive oil in a dutch oven to coat it generously. On med/high heat, sear all meat (including meatballs) in batches 2-3 min per side, adding more oil if needed. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot when browning. Remove meats and set aside.
- Quickly turn heat to low, and drain off the excess oil. Deglaze the dutch oven with your favorite red wine, then add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and beef broth back into the pot. Stir to combine.
- Place the meatballs on a sheet pan. Finish cooking JUST the meatballs in the oven for 20-30 min at 350 degrees, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Let them cool when finished and then refrigerate until the very end.
- In a separate fry pan on medium heat, use the remaining olive oil to coat the pan. Saute the onions for 4-5 min. (or until clear), then add garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes (being careful not to burn).
- Pour sauteed onions and garlic into the dutch oven with the sauce. Using a stick blender, blend the tomato sauce and onion so that the sauce is not lumpy.
- Add all meats (except meatballs), the carrot, and about one cup of water back into the sauce. Cover and simmer on low for several hours, stirring occasionally. Check to make sure meats have reached a safe internal temperature.
- Skim oil off the top, then season to taste. Add cooked meatballs during the last 10min. minutes of cooking.
- To serve, spoon Sunday Gravy sauce with meat over spaghetti squash, pasta, or zoodles. Cut up the meats and garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and/or basil if desired.
Cook ground beef to a minimum internal temperature of 160 °F (71.1 °C)
Cook beef, pork, veal & lamb steaks, chops, roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F (62.8 °C)
- Create a clean work area.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat or seafood.
- Rinse fresh produce thoroughly.
- Do not use the same cutting board or utensils on cooked food or produce, that previously touched raw meat or seafood.
- Do not leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove.