The Sopranos Sunday Gravy

Source: Citrus and Candy & CD Kitchen

The Sopranos Sunday Gravy

For the sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound meaty pork neck bones or spareribs
1 pound veal stew meat OR 2 veal shoulder chops
1 pound Italian-style plain or fennel pork sausages
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 (28- to 35-ounce) cans Italian peeled tomatoes
2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

For the Meatballs
1 pound ground beef or a combination of beef and pork
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs, preferably homemade
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon very finely minced garlic
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

To Serve
1 pound shells or rigatoni, cooked and still hot
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano


In a large pot or casserole dish (trust me, you'll need a large one!), heat the olive oil over medium heat then cook the pork ribs for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally until browned all over. Remove the ribs, then brown the veal. Remove then fry the sausages, browning it on all sides.

Drain off most of the fat in the pot (leave a little), then fry the garlic until golden. Remove the garlic then add the tomato paste and fry for a minute.

Add the tinned tomatoes and with a potato masher or your wooden spoon, crush the tomatoes finely. Feel free to have a chunkier sauce if that's what you prefer.

Add the wine and water then season with salt, pepper and sugar (to counteract the tartness and acidity of the tomatoes) to taste.

Add the cooked meats back into the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat, partially covered for 2 hours stirring occasionally. If it looks like the sauce is getting too thick, add a little water or wine.

In the meantime, make the meatballs:

Place all ingredients in a bowl (except the olive oil) and mix until all combined. Wet your hands slightly with cold water and form 4cm balls (I got about 21 meatballs out of it).

In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and fry the meatballs until browned all over. Set aside.

After 2 hours, add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for another 30 minutes until sauce is thick and meats are tender.

In the meantime, cook the 500g pasta in boiling salted water until al dente and drain.

After cooking time, remove the meats (not the meatballs) and set aside. Grab about 10 large leaves of basil and tear it with your hands into the sauce and stir through.

Add the pasta to the sauce and stir gently until all mixed.

Serve with grated pecorino or fresh parmesan. Serve the pork ribs, veal and sausages alongside or as a separate course or on another day. Personally I love shredding the meat and cutting up the sausages into pieces and adding it to my pasta.

Recipe Alternative:

Instead of serving it with pasta, make lasagne! Make meatballs the size of grapes and make Sunday Gravy as instructed. Use the gravy to layer with fresh pasta sheets and fresh ricotta and topped with grated mozzarella and parmesan and baked until all golden and melted.