Italian Sunday Gravy

Serves 6-8


For Marinara (makes 5-6 qts)

  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 6 cans (28 oz each) whole, peeled tomatoes (San Marzano suggested)
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • basil leaves, chopped or torn

For Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef (85% lean/ 15% fat)
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Romano cheese
  • black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste

For Braciole

  • 2 pieces "braciole" beef (6 oz each), found in Italian specialty markets
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ¼ cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil

Additional Gravy Ingredients

  • 2-4 cups canola oil to fry meat
  • 1 rack baby back pork ribs, separated
  • 2 links each hot & sweet Italian sausages

To Garnish

  • chopped parsley (optional)


Make Classic Marinara Sauce (watch the video)

  1. Add canola oil to a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onions and sauté onions until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.  Do not discard pan with oil
  2. Meanwhile in food processor, blend tomatoes for about 30 seconds or until just smooth
  3. Add the pureed tomatoes to the pot with the oil.  Add the cooked onions. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Bring to a boil then lower heat and let simmer for approximately 45-60 minutes over medium-low heat, adding a few (whole or chopped) basil leaves after 45 minutes. Set aside

Make Meatballs

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Form into 12-15 meatballs, about 1" - 1½" in size each. Set aside

Roll Braciole

  1. Lay meat flat on your work surface, working with one piece at a time
  2. Sprinkle cheese, pine nuts, golden raisins, chopped basil, garlic, salt and pepper atop both pieces of meat
  3. Roll tightly starting at one of the short ends and fasten with butcher's twine

Brown Meat & Simmer

  1. Heat canola oil in pan over medium-high. The amount of oil used will depend on how large your pan is -- you want the oil to reach about halfway up your meatballs and ribs when browning them
  2. Start browning meats in batches, beginning with both pieces of rolled braciole, the ribs and meatballs. Do not overcrowd the pan
  3. Remove meats to the large pot of marinara. Brown sausage links on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to marinara along with other meats
  4. Bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 45 minutes
  5. Remove meats to a plate. Cut away the butcher's twine from the braciole and slice into ½" pieces
  6. Serve family-style with ample amounts of marinara ("gravy") on the side. Garnish with parsley if desired