Pasta Sauce, Meatballs, Sausage and Braciole Recipe

Making The Sunday Sauce! Spaghetti sauce with Meatballs, Sausage, Pork Chops and Braciole!!!

How to make the best spaghetti sauce ever! Family recipe details on how to prepare the sausage, meatballs and braciole and how to make the Sunday sauce!

Prep time: Approx. 1 – 2 hrs. (Depends if you’re making all the meats, could be longer)
Cook time: 3 – 4 hrs.
Yield: 1 Pot of sauce with pork chops, sausage and meatballs. (10 – 12 servings)

 * Please read this recipe carefully all the way through a few times before attempting to make it. It will take a little courage, planning and a lot of love! Also, just to settle any arguments, yes, my grandmother called the pasta sauce “Gravy”. Pass the gravy!

* Scroll to bottom of this page for recipe videos and photo gallery.
* Step-by-step recipe photos with commentary.

Pasta Sauce Ingredients:

  • Oregano – Sweet Basil – 2 bay leafs – Garlic powder – Salt/Pepper
  • Fresh parsley (This is Important!! It MUST be fresh parsley!)
  • 1 vedalia onion (Not too large but bigger than medium)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (Must be fresh chopped)
  • Cajun seasoning (Just a dash. I recommend Tony’s Chachere’s. Is this Italian? No, but it does add a nice kick to the sauce. You can also add crushed red pepper flakes if you want some extra heat.)
  • Olive oil (Recommend “Filippo BERIO Olive Oil” imported from Italy)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar (You’re going to add this later on during the cooking)
  • (5) 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce or puree
  • (2) 6 oz. cans of tomato paste
  • (2) 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
  • (1) 14.5 oz. cans of petite diced tomatoes (I recommend Hunts or San Marzano’s from Cento if you can get them. Hunts is what my grandmother used.)
  • Red wine (I recommend Villa Pozzi)
  • 2 pork chops (Average size, thin and with the bone. This comes into the recipe when you start making the Meatballs.
  • 1 Package of mild Italian Sausage (I recommend mild Johnsonville Sausage)
  • A large stainless steel sauce pan at least 10″ diameter and 12″ deep (Make sure you have a quality pot, cheap pots have a very thin bottom which tends to burn whatever it is you are cooking. A good quality pot has a very thick bottom. This is much better for slow cooking. Do not use an aluminum pot! What I use and recommend is this 12 Quart Farberware Classic Series Stainless-Steel Stockpot)
  • Water (you will be adding approximately 49.5 oz. of water along the way during the cooking process. This is an important step so pay attention.)
    Blue text indicates the addition of water. Don’t worry, it will evaporate out.
    Note: Ingredients for Meatballs and Braciole are farther down this page and will be revealed as you read through the recipe.

See below for VERY detailed recipe instructions.
Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs plate


* This Pasta Sauce page is dedicated to my Dad, who always wanted to know how to make his Mother-In-Law’s sauce and to my Grandmother who taught me how to pour a lot of love into the cooking!


Put enough olive oil in the pot to just barely cover the bottom. You want to have enough oil where the garlic can soak a little bit.

Note: Make sure you have started the “Italian background music“, it will help get you in the mood for cooking like Grandma. You can also play this video of my Uncle Johnny on the accordion: That’s Amore – Italian Pop Songs! I also recommend Sicilian Music Part 1 for a wonderful soundtrack to accompany reading the recipes. These links will open a new tab so you can come back to this page while the music plays. Trust me, it helps with reading through the recipe.

Chop up (3) large cloves of garlic as fine as you can. It’s better to do this manually with a knife and your fingers in lieu of using a garlic chopper or garlic press. This way, you will have that nice Italian Grandmother smell. If you do not have an Italian Grandmother, trust me, their fingers always smell like garlic ๐Ÿ˜‰

Add the garlic to the oil. Do not heat the pan up yet, just let the garlic sit there and bathe in the olive oil for a bit. This will help get the garlic flavor into the oil. You listenin’? These are Grandma cooking secrets… it’s important stuff!

While the garlic is bathing in the olive oil, chop up (1) large Vedalia onion as fine as you can.

Heat the oil and garlic – medium heat. Heat until you see little bubbles around the garlic. (DO NOT OVER COOK THE GARLIC) When you see the little bubbles around the garlic add the chopped up onions and lower the heat to medium low. Be sure to do this as soon as you see the little bubbles around the edges of the garlic.

Simmer at low heat, the oil, garlic and onions for about 5 minutes. While the onion, garlic and oil are simmering add 1 tsp. oregano, 1/2 tsp. sweet basil, a dash of salt and pepper and mix well.

Spoon in (1) 6 oz. can of tomato paste. Fill this 6 oz. tomato paste can with water, stir with a spoon until you get all the paste off the inside of the can then add it to the pot. Turn the heat back up to medium. Mix well until paste is liquefied and mixed well with the garlic and onions. Simmer for about 4 minutes. (Be sure to stir the sauce constantly for these 4 minutes) I call this Italian Roux. At this point you should add a touch of salt, black pepper and 1/2 tsp. of Oregano.

Add (2) 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes and (1) 14.5 oz. can of petite tomatoes. Mix well and simmer for 10 more minutes. Stir every couple of minutes. While simmering add 1 tsp. oregano (yes, again), 1/2 tsp. sweet basil, 1-1/2 tsp. fresh chopped parsley, just a dash of cajun seasoning, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and a dash of course black pepper. Also, this is a good time to turn up the music and start drinking some red wine ๐Ÿ˜‰

Add the second 6 oz. tomato paste. Fill this 6 oz. tomato paste can with water, stir it up good to get all the paste off the inside of the can and add it to the pot. Mix well and heat for another 15 minutes or so. At this point you should add a little salt and pepper. The heat should be set to medium heat, the sauce should not be boiling, if boiling turn down heat just a little. Also be sure to stir sauce every minute or so, you don’t want anything sticking to the bottom of the pan in this part of the sauce making process. Make sure the paste is mixed in well. When you add the tomato paste at this point, it’s going to clump together, get a wooden spoon and squeeze the paste up against the side of the pan to mix the paste in well with the sauce.

Add (5) 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce or puree (“Hunts”). Mix well. Fill all (5) of these cans 1/2 full of water, stir it up good to get all the sauce off the inside of the cans, then add this to the sauce. Mix the sauce again. Now Add 1 tsp. oregano (yes, again), Important note about adding oregano and sweet basil, when adding this to the sauce, pour the herbs in the palm or your hand and with your other hand rub hard to grind up the seasoning, this brings out the flavor a little more. Also add 1 tsp. fresh parsley, 1 tsp. sweet basil and 1/4 tsp. garlic powder. Mix well. Keep at medium heat. Be sure the sauce is not at a rapid boil. A little boiling is OK but not too much. Heat should be at medium or lower. You want to keep the medium heat on the sauce while you make the Meatballs.

*Do not cover the pot at any time during cooking. You want the water to evaporate so the sauce gets nice and thick.

OK, if you have been doing the math, you should have added by now a grand total of approximately 49.5 oz. of water. Actually this does not have to be exact, can be more or less. Adding the water helps you cook the sauce longer so you can better cook the meat. You will be cooking the sauce for 3 – 4 hours, this added water helps with the slow cooking.

*** Don’t forget to keep stirring the sauce every 3 minutes or so while you’re making the Meat Balls ~ This is Important!

Add 1/3 cup red wine and mix well. This is an important step! Let simmer (almost boiling) for about 15 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

At this point in your culinary adventure you will want to drop in (2) Bay Leafs, mix this sauce well after dropping in the bay leafs. To add a little fun you may want to toss the bay leafs over your back and see if you can make it into the pot ๐Ÿ˜‰

OK, you’re doing great! Now wipe the sweat of your forehead and lets get those meatballs going before the sauce burns….!

Just let the sauce simmer (not boiling) while you’re preparing the meatballs. It could take you about 1/2 hour to finish the Meatballs.

*** Important Note: About 10 minutes before you put the Meatballs into the sauce you will need to add (2) tbsp’s of sugar. Sprinkle this in slowly while you’re stirring the sauce. Mix the sauce well after adding the sugar.

OK – just let it cook some more… Well…? Start making those Balls!

Anthony’s Meatballs and Pork Chops

An extremely important part of this recipe for overall flavor, adds a lot to the sauce, really!!!… You must make the Meatballs!! ~ This is Important! Chops are optional.)

OK, look, it’s just not sauce without the meatballs, so make the meatballs.

Oh, wait….. Did I forget to tell you my Family’s recipe for Braciole, you know, that steak with bread crumb type filling all rolled up and held together with toothpicks or string… The string around the meat we call Italian dental floss ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s excellent addition to the sauce recipe. It makes the sauce taste even better! It’s a good!! ~ The Braciole recipe is towards the bottom of this page if you want to add it to the pot!

Important Note: If you are going to make the Braciole (not a requirement – but an enhancement to the sauce) this is where you would make it and add it to the sauce. You should make the Braciole before the Pork Chops and Meatballs. The meat for the Braciole needs to cook in the sauce longer than the Balls and Chops. **Very Important Note: You will want to make the Braciole and brown it in a pan as noted in the Braciole recipe toward the bottom of this page. You should also put the Braciole in the sauce right from the pan and you should place them in the sauce before you make the meatballs. This way your Braciole is cooking while you’re preparing the meatballs.

OK… Back to the Chops and Balls!

Very Important Tip:
When frying the Meat Balls and Pork Chops you MUST have a very good Non-Stick pan. Believe me, this helps! However, keep in mind, if you use a non-stick pan you will ruin it over time because you need very high heat on the pan to brown the meats and non-stick pans do not like high heat. What I recommend is a well seasoned iron skillet. (It’s what grandma used!) The best for browning the meatballs, pork chops, sausage and Braciole! Check out this very helpful Irreplaceable Cast Iron Pans page. A lot of good tips on how to care for your cast iron skillets.

Important Note: Before you make the Meat Balls you need to add the Pork Chops to the Mix…. Remember as I said in the beginning of the recipe; “(2) Pork Chops (Average size thin with bone) This comes into the recipe when you start making the Meatballs” hey.. Here we are :-))

Pork Chops: Add a little olive oil to the pan. Take the (2) thin Pork Chops and fry them in a pan. Cook on high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, enough to sear and brown the chops on both sides. Add the chops to the sauce and stir. You want them to cook in the sauce while you’re making the Meatballs. ~ Now you can move onto the Meatballs…

OK, Here is the stuff you will need for the Meatballs: (Yields approximately 12 to 14 balls. )

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Ground Chuck (80/20) – (This means with 20% fat, you want at least 20% fat. Do not use lean meat for the balls!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 slices of dark wheat bread with crust (Soak in water and squeeze out water)
  • A little less than 1/4 cup bread crumbs (Progresso Italian style)
  • 1/4 cup fresh finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 3 cloves finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • A dash of coarse black pepper and Salt (more pepper than salt)
  • A couple splashes of red wine (I recommend Villa Pozzi)
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet basil
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cup chopped salt pork also called fatback (…not in the meatballs, just used for browning the them)

Important note about the Salt Pork! The salt pork is an extremely important part of the entire sauce and is a must when browning all the meats. When you brown your meatballs, you must fry up some salt pork first so you can have a good amount of salt pork grease in the pan to brown the meatballs in. It also makes your cast iron pan nice and slippery so the meatballs don’t stick. You will use these tasty pieces of fried salt pork later on with the Braciole! You will need to use about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of chopped salt pork. You want to produce enough salt pork grease to cover the bottom of the pan. Here is the method for this deep dark Italian grandma secret!

Secret grandma tip: Be sure to chop up the salt pork into 1/2″ pieces. Keep the grease in the pan and put the small fried salt pork bits on a paper towel to drain.

Note: I do not recommend making the meatballs the night before. They are best when made fresh, browned and put in the sauce immediately after browning. I’ve tried preparing the meatballs the night before and have not been happy with the results.

Don’t forget to keep stirring the sauce every 3 minutes or so while you’re making the meatballs, and make sure it’s not boiling. Ideally, you want the sauce at a point where it’s almost boiling. You’ll have to check the temperature often.

OK, are you ready? Here we go….
Making the meatball mix! Hang in there, we’re almost done..


Get a big bowl and put the 1 lb. of ground chuck in it. It’s very important to have 1 lb. of ground chuck and not more or less. This recipe works best with 1 lb. of ground chuck. If you want more meatballs, just double the meatballs recipe.

Chop up 1/4 cup of fresh Parsley as fine as you can. Fresh parsley is extremely important, the dried up stuff in a bottle is not parsley, it’s just green stuff they find on the ground at factories. Add the parsley to the bowl. Don’t mix anything yet. You’re going to add all this stuff and mix when your done.

Add (1) Egg to bowl.

Chop up (2) large or (3) small cloves of garlic as fine as you possibly can and add to bowl.

Add 1/3 cup of Parmesan Cheese to the bowl.

Take your (1) slice of dark wheat bread and rub it under the faucet and get it soaking wet. Then squeeze as much of the water as you can out of the bread. The bread should be a gooey consistency. What I call meatball glue, this is very important. Break the bread up into the bowl. At this point you need to also add about about 1/4 cup of bread crumbs.

Add coarse black pepper, salt, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, a splash of red wine and about 1 tsp. of sweet basil.

OK, Lets get your hands dirty.

Mix all the ingredients in the bowl well. You will need to work the meat for about 3 minutes until you end up with a big relatively firm ball. You are shooting for the consistency of play dough. If the meatball mixture is still wet you might need to add just a little bit more bread crumbs, but not too much. however it’s OK for the balls to be a little wet, you just don’t want the meatball mixture wet to the point of being mushy. Only way I can explain it. You also don’t want the meatballs too dry either. You have to make these just right. It will take practice.

VERY IMPORTANT STEP! Chop up the salt pork into 1/2″ small bits and fry it up in the cast iron skillet so you get enough salt pork grease to fill the bottom of the pan. Then take your meatball mix and make 1-1/2″ to 2″ balls. Roll them around in your hand and try to make them as firm as possible. You might want to start out with 1-1/2″ balls the first time you make them. 1-1/2″ balls are easier to handle. What I mean… is they don’t fall apart as easy. Also what I use is two flat wooden spoons to roll the balls around while browning. Important note: The meatballs will not be perfectly round when your done searing them, you may have some odd shape balls, but don’t worry about it, you’re more concerned about the taste.

Get the pan very hot, heat should be on medium high to high, you will probably add a lot of smoke to your house at this point, if you are not getting a LOT of smoke from the browning meatballs, you don’t have the heat high enough. I usually open the windows and put a fan in the window for this part. It can get that smoky! You want to sear the meat to a dark brown. Be careful with the balls at first, you don’t want them to fall apart. They should be cooked to a point where you can roll them around the pan and have them appear to be firm.

*** Important Note: Did you put the (2) tbsp’s of sugar into the sauce like you where directed just prior to making the Meatballs? If not, do it now! This is an important step.

When the meatballs appear to be seared well and firm take them right from the frying pan into the sauce. Grease is an important ingredient to the flavor of the sauce. Especially salt pork grease! (If you’re worried about cholesterol and fat then don’t eat Italian food.

OK, Stay with me now…

Sausage!!! Did I mention the sausage yet? This is not a must, but definitely adds flavor to the sauce! If you want to add sausage to the sauce, click here for a quick video I made of the process. It will help you! You need to boil them, then brown them before adding to the sauce. If you choose not to add the sausage, I do recommend throwing in about 1/2 tsp. of Fennel Seeds. But really, you should add the sausage. You should add the sausage when you add the meatballs. Note: As a standard, I always make the meatballs and the sausage when making the sauce, leaving the pork chops and Braciole as options if I have the extra time.

*** Now that you have added the meats to the sauce, you will not need to stir the sauce as much ~ This is Important!  From this point on when you stir the sauce, stir gently, remember that you now have precious meats in the sauce and you don’t want to break them up when their cooking in the sauce. Be nice to the meat! When you stir from this point on, you will push a wooden spoon down the sides of the pot to the bottom then slowly stir towards the center. You don’t want to just dive your spoon into the middle of the pot, you can break up the meats that way.

Now you should have your chops and the balls (and the Braciole and sausage, if you’re making it) in the sauce and the heat should be at medium low, a little boiling is OK. Important Note: At this point it is important to make sure the sauce is not boiling to much, just a very low boil, a little bubbles here and there. Now let the sauce simmer with all the meats on medium or lower heat uncovered for about 30 min. Gently stirring occasionally. (Remember, You will not be covering the pot at any time during cooking).

OK, now taste the sauce… Oh that’s a good!!!! Important Tip: This is where you would add more spices to your liking. Sometimes at this point, I might add a little bit more basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. But you taste it and see for yourself. It may be just right at this point in regards to taste, but your not done cooking it yet!!!

Now simmer on low-med heat for another 2 to 3 hours or so uncovered. The timing on this varies. What you want to avoid is having a watery sauce, so cook it long enough for the sauce to get thick and all the meats to get tender. The more you cook the more tender the meat gets anyway. Be sure to stir occasionally during this entire time, a little boiling is OK. Occasionally = every 5 – 10 minutes ~ this is REALLY important! Be sure to check for grease/oil puddles each time before you stir and remove all you can. When you get to the third hour of cooking the sauce, you must be even more careful with your stirring because now the meats will be tender.
Important note: If you are not getting puddles of grease on top of the sauce after 2 hour of simmering, you may need to have longer periods of time between stirring. Sometimes you have to let the sauce simmer for a good 15 min. or so without stirring to get some of the grease to rise to the top so you can spoon it off. This is a very important step! You should end up removing 1 to 2 cups of grease from the sauce.

Important tip: How do you remove the puddles of grease/oil from the sauce? Great question, glad you asked! To remove the grease/oil from the sauce you must do the following. Press a tablespoon into the sauce bottom side of the spoon dipping into the sauce until the lip of the spoon just enters the grease puddle. The grease will then pour into he spoon. Then you pour that spoon full of grease into a coffee mug and take some more grease out until there is no more grease puddle. Then you carefully stir the sauce again and let it simmer some more. You will keep doing this through the entire cooking process.

The sauce is done when it is the consistency of apple sauce. Only way I can explain it. For me, the sauce is usually done when it’s been cooking for about 3 to 3-1/2 hours after I have put the meats in the sauce.

That’s it you’re done…….. Easy as Pie.

* See below for the Braciole recipe if you are going to add that to the pot.

Here is another little tip, after cooking this lovely sauce for about an hour or so, I always take out one meatball and a sausage. Put it on a small plate, pour some sauce over it and sample them. YUM!!!

Tip: The sauce gets a much better flavor if you finish your sauce a couple hours before your going to eat. When you finish the sauce, just turn off the burner and let it sit on the stove covered. Let the sauce sit for about 1 to 2 hours. When you’re ready to eat, just heat the sauce back up again for about 10 – 20 min. or so, just to get it hot, then serve. The sauce is also very good if you finish the sauce the night before. Put the entire pot in the fridge and then heat up the next day before your dinner. If you do this, you will want to take the pot out of the fridge and let it sit for an hour to get to room temperature and then you will have to heat it up for about 30 to 45 minutes to get the sauce warm and the meats warm for serving.

When you’re ready to serve, take out the Meatballs, Pork Chops and/or Braciole and sausage and put them into a nice bowl to serve out of. Make sure you carefully remove all the string from the Braciole before serving. You will need a nice pair of sharp scissors fro this.

Also, you should put a nice large serving bowl of sauce on the table for people to add to their plate after they have scooped up everything they want on their plate. You’ve worked hard on the sauce and you want them to enjoy it.

Anthony’s Braciole (Bra-Zshole)

Yet another important part (but not a requirement) of this recipe for overall flavor, adds a lot to the sauce.

* I only make the Braciole on very special occasions like birthdays and Christmas. My standard sauce is usually made with just the pork chops, meatballs and sausage as spelled out above.

Note: If you are going to make the Braciole along with all the other meats, I recommend adding 1 cup of water to the sauce, above and beyond the water mentioned above.

Braciole Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 lbs “Round Steak” or “London Broil” (sliced pretty thin, about 1/4″)
  • 1/4 lb. of Prosciutto or Mortadella (Sliced extremely thin, almost falling apart thin. You must stress this point to the person slicing!)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup bread crumbs (preferably “Progresso”)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 fresh parsley
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (fresh grated recommended)
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • Salt Pork Crunchy Bits (Secret ingredient)
  • Coarse Black Pepper and Salt
  • Olive oil (Just a little bit that you will rub on the meat)

A quick note about the salt pork tasty fried crunchy bits. (When you were frying up the salt pork pieces for the meatballs you should have put them on a paper towel to drain. You can use these tasty bits to add to the Braciole. Be sure to chop them up into smaller pieces.)

Very Important Tip: When frying the Braciole I recommend a well seasoned cast iron pan and browning the Braciole in salt pork grease similar to the meatballs. Note: I also highly recommend doing this the night before. Roll the Braciole as spelled out below, then brown in salt pork grease, then put on plate, cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator to use the next day with the sauce. Then on the next day when you are making the sauce, you will fry them up in a pan again, this time just with some cooking spray in the pan, don’t use the salt pork again. Brown them enough to get hot again and then drop them into the sauce before you put the meatballs in.

When you go to your local grocery store to get the “Round Steak” or “London Broil” (they are basically the same thing) you will need to ask the butcher to slice the meat up into 1/4″ thin pieces. (You will pound these out to be about 1/8″ thick)

Take the meat slices and lay them out on wax paper. Now pound the heck out of them, you need a meat pounder for this part. You might want to make sure there are no babies sleeping while you do this. The pieces will end up larger when you’re done pounding and you may have to cut them in half and do some trimming.

You want to have pieces that are approximately 8″x4″ and relatively rectangular in shape, sometimes when they slice the meat you may get some slices that come to a point, you will have to cut those ends off, it becomes a problem when you start to roll the meat up if one edge is a lot smaller than the other. (Did that make sense to you?? When I get time I might add some pictures to help aid you through this whole sauce making process)

Anyway, now that you have your 8″x4″ rectangular slices of meat sitting on your counter, staring at you, waiting for some Italian influence… You want to first add an extremely thin slice of Prosciutto or Mortadella. Just lay the slice right on top of the meat. Then chop up some fresh parsley, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup, grate some fresh Parmesan cheese, about 1/4 cup, and chop up 3 cloves of garlic as fine as you can.

Sprinkle on the meat, finely chopped fresh garlic (spread out the garlic with your fingers and try to press the garlic into the meat), some bread crumbs, fresh parsley and fresh Parmesan cheese, then add a dash of salt and coarse black pepper. Make sure it’s evenly spread out on the meat. (I sometimes throw in a little basil as well)

OK, now you’re ready to roll up the meat…

Roll up the meat as tight as you can and tie it up with some very strong nylon thread (we call this Italian dental floss). You will need about three pieces of string for each piece of Braciole. You have to be patient. This part can take a while. You want to tie it well enough to hold it all together. Make sure to leave long pieces of string hanging off the knot you make so you can find the string after cooking it. If you don’t have strong thread, it will fall apart during the searing process. You can also use cooking string, (also called butchers twine) to roll up your Braciole. This is a lot easier to work with but would not fall under the category of Italian dental floss ๐Ÿ˜‰

OK, now that you have all your meat rolled up, tied up and ready to go, let’s put the meat in the very hot pan. You want to brown/seer the meat and then put them in the sauce. Please be gentle stirring the sauce from this point on. You should try to get these into the sauce just prior to putting in the meatballs.

This recipe should yield approximately 5 to 8 Bracioles. Depends and the final size of your pieces of meat.

This part of the recipe will take practice. You will have to make the Braciole several times before you get it just right. You’ll have to play around with the amount of ingredients to add to the meat and the size of the roll. You don’t want the rolls too thick or you will have to cook you’re sauce longer.

Now make your favorite Pasta and Mangiarlo tutto!!! (Eat it all)

May I suggest a nice Italian Red Wine to go with this wonderful meal? Yes? Ok, this is the best red wine I’ve ever had and is my absolute favorite! Villa Pozzi Nero D’Avola Sicilia Cabernet Sauvignon. A wonderful red wine from Sicily, Italy! You can get this wine and a review here.

May I suggest listening to some good Italian music while you’re cooking? It really helps you get in the mood for good Italian food! I recommend: Italian Gold: Treasured Collection. My grandmother had the vinyl version of this.

*** This is my family’s recipe which has been passed down through generations. Special credits go to my Grandma: Anna Salerno, my Sicilian Mother in-law: Rose DeSiato and my mother: Raffaele! I’ve watched them all VERY closely when they made their sauce on many occasions, so this recipe is a culmination of spaghetti sauce styles from all of them and my own special minor revisions.

I made a separate page that covers some extra details in regards to the order in which I brown the meatballs and braciole that may help. Check it out here.

How to Make Spaghetti Sauce & Meatballs Videos
(2 part video series play list)

Below is a play list that will automatically play both parts. Enjoy!

Preparing The Italian Sausage Before Adding To The Pot

… and if you want to make this pasta sauce for a big party, like 30 people,
I’ve tried to cover that with this special video series.

Pasta Sauce, Meatballs and Sausage for 30 People video series!

Check out this: 4 part video series – total length: 52 minutes
(Two sauce pots at once with Meatballs, Sausage and Pork Chops!)

Pasta Sauce and Meatballs Recipe Photo Gallery

But wait… There’s more!

If you read all of the above and watched the videos and looked at all the photos and still need more details, then this video dives into even more details. Warning! It’s a bit shaky and we were not shooting for professionalism here, we had crazy teenagers filming! I am just having a great time showing the teenagers how to make the sauce with all the meats. There is a lot of information here though, there is detailed instructions on how to prepare the meatballs, sausage and braciole as well as a lot of loud music, dancing.. well, it’s a 1-1/2 hour video so you might want to make some popcorn.

Teaching The Teenagers How To Make The Pasta Sauce With All The Meats!

Spaghetti Sauce and Meatball Plate
Meatball Into The Sauce!
Spaghetti Sauce, Meatballs and Sausage Plate
Meatballs, Sausage, Braciole and Gravy Bowl!
Let's Eat! Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs!

A bonus Pasta Sauce and Meatballs video!
The correct way to put the sauce on the pasta Video

… and here is a very important video I made in efforts of trying to explain the correct way to put sauce on the pasta. The one thing you hate to see as the person who spent all day making the sauce and meats is to have a guest put a tiny bit of sauce on the pasta. You have to pour a lot of sauce on and then half way through you will need some more. Think of it like eating pancakes with syrup, don’t you find that you need more syrup have way through eating the pancakes? Always have gravy bowls full of sauce at the table!

Check out my Italian Cooking Favorites video playlist!

153 thoughts on “Pasta Sauce, Meatballs, Sausage and Braciole Recipe”

  1. Hi , I will be making your spaghetti and meatballs, sausage and pork chops for my sons birthday dinner. I made it two years ago for his birthday dinner and followed the recipe exactly except I couldnโ€™t get salt pork anywhere the last time, this time I hope to find it, as you said it makes the sauce better and more like grandmas. I donโ€™t have an Italian grandma, but I had an Italian uncle who would make us spaghetti and meatballs every time he came to visit and it was the best spaghetti I had ever eaten, I tried to get the recipe from him when I was a teenager, but he didnโ€™t measure things and I didnโ€™t write anything down and a couple of years later he passed away and I never learned to make his sauce. So when I found your website, I was excited. Iโ€™ll be honest with you, the last time I made the sauce, I used a thin pot as that was the only large pot I had and I didnโ€™t have time to get a better pot before my sons birthday and the sauce burnt on the bottom. It didnโ€™t ruin the whole pot of sauce, but Iโ€™m hoping with the new heavy bottom pot and the salt pork, it will be even better this time. Thank you for posting this wonderful recipe, it reminds me of my uncle. I canโ€™t wait to take another stab at it. BTW my sons favorite meal is spaghetti.


    1. Debra, This is fantastic! Wonderful to hear you are going to make the again and that is for your sons birthday party. The sauce with all the meats is a big birthday meal in our family. Any good excuse to make a pot and I’m on it. Thin pot.. oh no. That is a definite no no. Very glad to hear you have a good pot with a thick bottom now. That is a very important part to this recipe because of how long you have to cook it. The salt pork is also called fat back. Some time next to the bacon other times in very strange places in the grocery store. Get a hole of the meat guy in the meat department and tell him you’re looking for fat back.salt pork. The salt pork really makes a hug difference. When I was working through a all the details of making this sauce like my grandmother did which required spending time in the kitchen with my grandmother when I was a kid and having long conversations with my mom and uncles after she passed away. Years went buy, I thought I had it nailed down but it was still lacking something, some small step was missing, I knew it. Then during a random conversation with my uncle about some non food related we started talking about the sauce and he mentioned grandma using the salt pork. It was like a deep dark secret slipped out! I was so excited I went home and made a pot of sauce right away using the salt pork grease to brown all the meats and that was it! Nailed it! I finally had my grandmothers recipe nailed down perfectly. It only took a few decades to figure it out ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a blast cooking for your sons birthday, I hope it ll comes out great! Whatever it takes, find that salt pork! Anthony


  2. Anthony, THANK YOU for this recipe. As a kid, I spent almost every Sunday making sauce with my dad, an Italian chef from NJ. He passed away years ago and the first time I made your sauce, I was literally brought to tears. My house SMELLED and FELT like I was cooking with Dad again, really. This is exactly how we made it. Let it simmer while we went to church. Sneak in the kitchen to dip a slice of bread in it when he wasn’t looking. Not only does it taste deliciously identical, but it’s such a joyful experience every time I make it. I’ve been making it for 7-8 years now and it is hands down the best. THANK YOU!!


    1. This is wonderful! Warms my heart and grandma Salerno would be proud that I am able to share the love. I spend a lot of time with my grandmother in the kitchen when I was a kid and learned a lot but the most important lesson was watching how she poured love into the cooking for the ones she loved. And when she saw her loved ones enjoying her cooking she was full of joy and at peace. Pure satisfaction all over her face as I would ask for a third plate ๐Ÿ™‚ Every time I make the sauce I am also brought back to a simpler time at grandmas house where the sauce was cooking all day. WONDERFUL!!! Keep it going and teach the younger generation, the tradition must go on.


  3. Anthony, My first copy of the recipe calls for 2 tsp. of sugar. (several years ago).
    The current recipe calls for 2 TBS. Which is correct or does it much matter?


    1. Brian, I normally do “about” (2) TBS. My early version was probably a typo. It is definite not an exact science. My grandmother Salerno would say, you put, you taste and then you know.


  4. This is the best!!! I have been making this recipe for years. My girlfriend and I make it a Saturday event a few times a year. We get together, drink wine and each make a double batch so we have plenty to freeze. Thank you so much for sharing.


    1. YAY! Yes! It’s not just cooking. It’s an event, the process is half of the fun and drinking wine while cooking makes it all way better! It becomes a cooking party!… I love it when I have a bottle of wine opened, wine glass in hand, fans going full blast in the window to get the smoke out of the house from the browning meats and the smell of the sauce and some good music going with someone I love in the kitchen with me…. Does not get any better than that! Life is good! Something like this ๐Ÿ™‚

      Happy cooking, happy times and share the love!


  5. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I really owe you a debt of gratitude, Anthony. I’ve been using the recipe for over 10 years now. I want to say I’ve been making it since 2007. I used this recipe to romance ladies back when I was single and now I use it to keep my family fat and happy. I think it may even be the reason why my part Italian wife married me!
    So your family recipe has now become my family’s recipe and I am forever in your debt.


    1. This is fantastic! Makes my heart happy ๐Ÿ™‚ One should never underestimate the power of good Italian food. Really glad to hear you are still making it. The art of slow cooking has been dying away, we must keep it alive and well. Happy cooking and share the love! One of these days I’m going to make some updated videos!


    2. I have a question regarding storing. After you are done making it do you store it all in one pot in the frig or do you separate it into containers? Like the meatballs and sausage in one container and the gravy in another. So the next day when someone wants leftovers. and also how would you freeze it? all together or separate them thanks


      1. I normally get several medium sized Tupperware containers, enough to put in enough sauce for one large meal. You know, a lot of sauce… I also usually add 2 meatballs and a sauce in each container if there is any meat leftover. Sometimes I end up with a few containers with sauce and meat and some that are just sauce. Then throw them in the freezer. This recipe freezes great! When ready to eat thaw out and heat up in microwave in in a small pot. YUM!


  6. Made Braciole last month in my homemade sauce. The meat simply rolled up with garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Perfection and always a memory of family.


  7. This recipe has become a family favorite, So much so that it was requested by my family for Christmas dinner instead of a our traditional prime rib. thank you for sharing.


  8. Great recipe Anthony. Love the updates to the site.

    I’m making the recipe for my girl and her family for the first time tomorrow night. I envy them for getting to try it for the first time. There’s nothing like your first taste!


    1. Yes!!! Yay Christmas! Time to feast! Hope it all comes out awesome. Glad to see you are still keeping the slow cooking and traditions going. ๐Ÿ™‚ Merry Christmas!


  9. It’s been awhile since I clicked back here. This site looks great! So much better than the original one. NICE! I made the whole thing awhile ago, took all day but…wow…


    1. Thanks, I’ve been trying to make it better and more up-to-date. A lot of work but this whole thing is a labor of love anyway. Happy cooking and share the love! ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. Iโ€™ve been following your website and โ€œGravyโ€ recipes for several years now and it is always a really positive experience to make it. Weโ€™re celebrating my youngest nieceโ€™s move into her college dorm room in my town [go NAU!] so my brother & his family are here for dinner! I made the pot today with meatballs, chop and sausage. I sure hope my little brother doesnโ€™t remember the last time I made it including the Braciole, because heโ€™ll give me the stink eye and think Iโ€™m lazy โ€” hahaha! So, a big Irish family tonight will feast on your Italian dish with gusto! Thanks as always for sharing these wonderful recipes โ€” Iโ€™m a fan along with my family.


    1. Wonderful!!! Glad you are enjoying my labor of love and that you are still making the sauce. Keep it going! I have changed to pre-making Brociole when I make the sauce with all the meats. I do all the Braciole preparation, pounding, filling and tying up. Then I coat lightly with olive oil and wrap with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge the day before I make the sauce. Helps a lot on the day of making the feast!


  11. Anthony,
    Thanks for this recipe, I have been using this for about 3 years now. Being from a big Italian family there are never any complaints when I make this sauce for the family. Everyone always wants to “take some home” so I usually now make 2 pots! Thanks again for passing this along to others to enjoy this awesome recipe!


    1. YaY! This makes me happy! Happy cooking and share the love ๐Ÿ™‚ My grandma Salerno would be proud!


    2. 2 pots! Wonderful!!! Keep on cooking and pass on the passion tot he next generation. Slow cooking is becoming a lost art. Glad you are enjoying my labor of love.


  12. I made this sauce 3 times now but without the pork I use beef. Used cranberry juice and sun-dried tomatoes instead of wine. One always had to twick a recipe to ones dite. And so far I have only made half recipes due to the fact that when I make it I also have to make other things besides just spaghetti and have to serve it at 12 noon. I really appreciate you taking the time to write it down. I really don’t think it’s very difficult to make. And the best part is you can make it while cooking everyone thing else like pizza ,salad, soup, breadsticks and a dessert all from scratch. You never realise how much work it is to cook when you have to make most everything you eat. I have a lot of things I can’t just buy from the store due to health reasons. And have to make things from scratch your recipe helps.


    1. Cranberry juice and sun-dried tomatoes is an interesting twist. Yes, this recipe has a lot of room for tweaking which is nice for experimenting. Glad you are cooking everything from scratch, way better on all levels! Happy cooking, happy times and share the love!


  13. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    My girlfriend and I have been making this sauce for years and she recently stopped eating meat. We both want to continue making the sauce and I was wondering if you have any suggestions for making a veggie friendly version.


  14. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    My girlfriend and I have been making this sauce for years and she recently stopped eating meat. We both want to continue making the sauce and I was wondering if you have any suggestions for making a veggie friendly version.


    1. Sure, you can make the recipe as I have it spelled out using the same amount of diced tomatoes, sauce, paste herbs, spices, sugar and wine less all the meats. The one thing I would add is a table spoon of crushed fennel seeds. This will make up for the lack of Italian sausage which has fennel and adds fennel flavor to the sauce. The sauce will still taste good without the meat. The meat does add a huge amount of flavor but without the meats sauce still good.


  15. I just wanted to thank you for the best spaghetti sauce and meatballs recipe I have ever tried. I’ve made this recipe now at least 10 times. I always follow the recipe exactly. The only difference is out here in Oregon I can’t always find the exact brand of tomato sauce and paste. I really appreciate all the hard work that you put into this website and into the recipe. I also appreciate your sense of humor in the recipe it’s fun just to read the recipe. Thank you again for all your hard work much love to you.


    1. Wonderful! Yay! So glad you’ve been making the sauce and enjoying my labor of love! Pouring love into the cooking for the ones you love is the most important ingredient ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep on cooking, oh… and stay tuned, I have some new videos coming.


    1. Anthony ,I started making your recipe years ago before you made the videos. My family begs for me to make this all the time. I usually listen to either “Ole blue eyes” or Dean while making this awesome supper. It is time consuming but is worth every minute you spend preparing it. For the last 4 years my 15 year old granddaughter has been helping me. We usually do it on a cold wintry day. So, it’s cold here and snowy in Kentucky, and I just got a phone call from her asking if we could make it ! Going to pick her up and go to the store!
      Thanks for the best Italian on the web!


      1. This is awesome! I missed your comment for some reason and am just now seeing it. Warms my heart! So glad you are making the sauce with your granddaughter! Wonderful to see the younger generation learning about slow cooking and how to pour love and passion into the cooking for the one they love. Just wonderful! Thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚


  16. I’ve made all of these recipes! Had fun doing it, had fun makin em! I have recently moved to Florida. Hardly anyone I know cooks Italian, so I do for them. Your Braciole is the favorite. Thanks so much Anthony! God bless.


    1. Thanks Tony… That’s awesome! Glad you have been enjoying my labor of love. Happy to share with you. I am entering the time of Christmas cookie madness! Lots of cooking coming up! Definitely some Lasagna as well, it’s a Christmas favorite at our house.


    2. Update as to the sauce I made last night. Some concerns I had were there it was going to be a little watery, but I just kept it on the stove for hours and hours and finally it thickened to a really nice sauce. The taste? Ohhhhh boy- it’s second to grandpas sauce. It really is delicious. A lot of work , a lot love, but so worth it!! Thank you for sharing! Ciao


      1. YaY! Glad to hear it came out well. Getting the sauce to the right consistency takes practice. You start to know how much water to put in and it depends on your moments of letting it simmer to a low boil every now and then to get the grease/oil to rise to the top so you can remove it. So cooking temps are never consistent all the way through, but cooking on low temp for longer definitely is the way to go. It just gets better and better! ๐Ÿ™‚ However, you do need those moments of cooking at medium low to get that very low boil which helps get the grease/oil to rise to the top. The more you make it the easier it all gets. Mangia!


  17. I made your sauce and your garlic bread for some friends this past weekend. It was so strange – usually this group of friends is very chatty during dinner, but there wasn’t a single person talking while eating. After everyone was done eating, then the talking started…. And all they talked about for like 30 mins was how good the food was and where I found the recipe!!! I will be sending them to you, my friend! Grazie mille!


    1. Wonderful!!! Yeah, good Italian food can slow down the conversation for a short while, not too long though. If your at table full of Italians however the conversation never stop and on most occasions it’s several conversations at once with several people and if you want to be heard you have to talk louder. Great fun! Keep on cooking and sharing the love! Ciao, Anthony


    1. Thank you! My grandma Salerno would be proud ๐Ÿ™‚ Mangia!!! I plan on making a new video soon in better quality and a bit more condensed. Stay tuned! If only there was a way to have the smells come through the webpage, that would help a lot! lol!


  18. I’ve been looking for a similar? sauce. My mom learned to make a sauce from her Italian neighbors. It also had spare ribs in it and she made it over 3 days. I think the 3 days actually was just breaking it down in to shorter sessions?


    1. Yeah, possibly working on pre-prepping so it’s easier on the day of cooking. I’ve heard about adding spare ribs to the sauce as well. Pork in general ads a lot of flavor to the sauce.


  19. Hi Anthony
    I’ve made your Sauce many times and love it. And I love that your recipe enables me to freeze some for another time. Most importantly, since I’m really not a good cook, your recipe is so good that I can pass for a great cook every time I make it.
    There have been many times that I feel like pasta, go to the freezer and to my disappointment, I don’t have any sauce left.
    Do you have a Sauce Recipe for those nights when the desire for pasta is strong and no Sauce in the freezer? I’ve tried to take your recipe and reduce it but somewhere, somehow, I’m off with calculations of the ingredients and it never tastes right.


    1. Hi Susan, so glad to hear you are enjoying the sauce and I’m happy you could follow my detailed instructions. The entire website is a labor of love and I’m happy to share with you ๐Ÿ™‚ There is no fast way to make this sauce, however if you are wanting some pasta and a quick sauce what you want to make is a Marinara sauce. I don’t have a recipe for this but there is a good one here: Happy cooking and share the love!


  20. I’d love to see you post a sausage and peppers recipe! Even though it’s not a difficult dish to make, I’m curious what your take is.


  21. I made this about 5 years ago because I wanted to enjoy an authentic Italian Spaghetti and meatball dinner.It took me almost all day, but it was worth every second.I always liked Olive Garden spaghetti and meatballs.They were my standard. Well after making this,, it blew Olive Garden out of the water, My new standard is this recipe.And no place I have been even compares to this.So I am back here to start cooking this again.I found the instructions and videos were so helpful too.And as I recall I had leftovers for a week,The longer that sauce sits the better it gets.Trust me you will not regret making this.Bon Appetit America!


    1. Thanks for the kind word Russell. I agree with you ๐Ÿ™‚ Best sauce I’ve ever had! But then it is what I grew up with so nothing can compare. Glad to see you are still making the sauce in a time where slow cooking is becoming a lost art. Happy cooking, happy times and share the love!


  22. Must say made this gravy today (sunday) I’m 6 hours deep every single ingredient was fresh… And I went for the full experience..did you know pandora has a italian cooking station? LOL . Had the red wine the whole show. This is hands down the most well thought out perfect recipe I have ever came across. I followed this entire site to a tee it is very involved not for the quick slap together gravy maker. However if you want old world results it is a process… that in my opinion is well worth the time. Anthony I for one want to thank you for your labor intensive directions and videos. I’m tired and ready to eat . My son was looking at me like I’m nuts dancing around the kitchen with old school frank sinatra ripping in the background lol..But tell you what the best gravy you will ever make…don’t cut corners! Again Anthony keep up the good work..solid website!


    1. Wonderful to receive this note. So glad to hear that you dove into the full experience. Old school Italian cooking is not just cooking, it’s an event! Happy to share with you and happy to hear it went well. Also glad to hear you appreciate my extremely detailed directions. I have poured a lot of love into the website trying to get all the details down. It took some time to work it all out to where I could explain all the steps. I do have many more recipes to add as I find the time. Happy cooking, Happy times and share the love!


  23. Anthony, great recipe!! No mention of San Marzano tomatoes, I thought these were a make or break for authentic sauce? Meatballs are all ground beef and no mix of pork and veal? Just curious your thoughts on those. Thanks for taking the time and effort to make this available to everyone!!


    1. In regards to the San Marzano tomatoes, I do not feel they make or break the Sunday gravy. There is so much flavor you are adding to the sauce with the garlic, herbs and meats that it overshadows the tomatoes. My grandma Salerno made her Sunday gravy with Hunts, so that is what I grew up with. I have tried making the sauce with San Marzano tomatoes and I honestly did not taste a massive difference. Also the same with the meatballs. My grandma Salerno never made her meatballs with the meat trinity of beef, pork and veal so I have not made my meatballs this way. I do want to try this out one day though. It does sound amazing. Happy to share with you.


      1. Thanks for your reply! I am really excited to give this a go, I enjoy cooking so this will be fun for me even if it takes all day ๐Ÿ™‚ . Great job on the detail, pics and videos. I’m a fan, look forward to seeing more! And also kudos to the camerawoman, she has a lot of patience!

        Liked by 1 person

  24. In your list of ingredients for the meatballs, you list parmigiana reggiano but, in the video, you are clearly using Kraft parmesan. What’s up with that?


    1. Money, or the lack thereof. I can’t always buy the good stuff. The ingredients I list is recommended. I would also always have a fresh block of Parmesan in the fridge if I could afford it.


      1. Thanks Anthony…I too sometimes cannot afford the real thing. Not only that, in my area, it’s almost impossible to find. Glad to know you think the Kraft parmesan is ok to use.


        1. Yeah, the Kraft Parm is not the end of the world. My grandma Salerno even used it when she could not afford the good stuff.


  25. Tony! I love that this recipe is still here and now in printable format! I should be enshrined for all of eternity! Molte Grazie!!


    1. Yes! I need to train my kids to keep it going after I’m gone! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a lot more I still want to add! Need to make some time. Christmas cookies next weekend. Whoop!


  26. I see you add diced and petite tomatos. Do you ever run it through a strainer or do the chunks break down from the cooking?


  27. Anthony, I too made Birthdays for my son special by adding Braciole to the sauce. The recipe I used came from his Sicilian grandmother and she used veal pounded very thin and than a hardboiled egg was added before it was all rolled up and browned to be added to the gravy. I will be sending this URL to my son as he loves to cook.


    1. This sounds wonderful! I’m sure your son will love this recipe! Never had the Braciole made with veal. Will have to try that out.


  28. This is the best sauce I have tasted. Period. Thank you for the recipe. The only thing I changed is that because of religious requirements, my wife cannot eat beef. So I substituted the beef for ground turkey for the meatballs. Just as delicious and it is not as fatty as beef, so you don’t get the pools of grease to skim off. I am thinking of making another batch soon. This sauce may take a long time to make, but it is worth it in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. So, at the risk of sounding morbid…my half-Italian spouse passed away about 8 years ago. He made sauce EXACTLY the way his grandmother did. For years, my daughter and I asked him to make it slowly so we could write down the ingredients. He never did. I have spend the last 8 years searching for a recipe that looked and sounded and tasted like his grandmothers…and here it was on your website the whole time! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! And for all you “in my head” cooks…do your loved ones a favor and write it down…or have them watch you and they can write while you create the magic! Anthony, you have made this old lady very happy!


    1. Kathryn,

      This is wonderful! I love hearing stories like this. it warms my heart! Yes, it very important to “write down” the details of your Italian grandma’s cooking! I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my grandma when I was a kid and paid attention to a lot of what she did in the kitchen. The most valuable thing I learned was observing the love she poured into the cooking. I lot of the details I remember from when I was a kid. More details I learned when I was a teenager helping her cook. She did not have anything written down at all. She would always say, you put, you taste and you just know… when it’s done! Then when she passed away I had to get more details from my mom and my uncles. It has literally taken me decades to finally nail down all the important steps! This website is my labor of love. The last missing family secret was the salt pork! After that I was finally able to make it just like my grandma Salerno’s. It’s all quite wonderful and I am glad I worked through the process. Happy to share with you!

      Peace and Joy and share the love! Ciao, Anthony


  30. My Momma used pork neck bones instead of pork chops, more work but well worth it gives so much more flavor. Brown first, then add to sauce. Once meat is falling off the bones, remove from pot and clean any remaing meat from bones, add meat back to pot. I also prefer to take saugage out of casing and brown then remove from pan and drain excess grease either in a sieve or paper towel before adding to sauce.


    1. All of this sounds awesome! I have heard about the pork neck bones several times now. Will have to try it out.


  31. Oh my goodness!! Cannot wait to try this!! My grandma had a friend who was Italian (both parents) and she would make a sauce similar to this that I adored 15 years ago! I was reminiscing not long ago, googling ‘homemade pasta sauce with pork chops, Italian sausage and meatballs’ and your recipe came up. I’ve had this bookmarked for a couple months right now. I think I haven’t tried it because of the lengthiness of your description. Don’t get me wrong…the more ingredients and time the better and I love all of your commentary, however, when I am cooking, I like to look at paper (printouts/cookbooks). Do you happen to have a scaled down version? All the steps and ingredients but just more to the point? Please don’t take this the wrong way…it is just what works for me ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for posting this gem…looks AMAZING!!!


    1. Sorry, I don’t really have a condensed version. So hard to explain all the details in something that is short. It’s on my list to do. Hope you tackle the recipe. So worth all the effort ๐Ÿ™‚


    2. I do love this sauce, you should definitely make it sometime. I’m like you I had a hard time following the recipe with the narrative, so I printed it out and re-typed it. It works better for me that way. It really is good.


    1. I actually cover this in a Christmas Lasagna video I did here:

      I always make a meat sauce when I make the Lasagna. Enjoy!


  32. This recipe has become a highly requested staple with my friends and family. Seriously, I can’t tell anyone when I am making a pot because they swarm in like vultures and eat the sauce right off the stove like soup–no pasta or anything! Luckily, this sauce cans beautifully and makes an excellent gift. My only recommendation, if you decide to can it, is not to transfer the cooking meats to the canning jars, as it changes the flavor of the sauce the longer it sits and almost takes on a “Chef Boyardee” flavor. So long as you leave the meats out of the jars, the sauce tastes just as good 3 months later as it did right out of the pot!


    1. This is wonderful! So glad you are making the sauce and the meats! So worth the effort. Slow cooking is becoming a lost art because nobody wants to take the time. Thanks for the tip on canning. I plan on continuing this family tradition for as long as I am able ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t can much because the sauce go very quickly!


  33. Where can I buy the salt pork? Will any butchers market have it? Do I just ask for salt pork? Also, I was thinking of doing just the meatballs and the sausage, do you think that will be ok or do you really need the pork as well. I have never done anything like this, there are soooo many steps! Did you mention how much sauce this makes? Thanks!


    1. You can find the salt pork in most grocery stores and or butcher shops. Even Walmart has it but you have to ask. Sometimes they have the salt pork in strange places. Mostly is in the bacon area. It also has many secret names, the most common are salt pork, fatback. No problem making the sauce with just meatballs and sausage. Sometimes I make it with just meatballs. But if making with just meatballs I add some crushed fennel to the sauce. Italian sausage has fennel that gets into the flavor of the sauce and don’t want to miss that if just making with meatballs. This recipe produces a medium pot of sauce which can serve approximately 10 – 12 people. It really depends on how is eating. For example, if you are feeding hungry teenage boys then maybe it will only serve about 6 ๐Ÿ˜‰


  34. Sitting here in the midwest and wishing that I was eating spaghetti back in NJ/NY……. I made a pot of this. Thank you so much, my wife and I couldn’t stop eating this. Thank God I didn’t half this because I have some to freeze!
    Great job and thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Adding the basil and other herbs too early causes them to lose all of their flavor. Try adding them at the end.


      1. I was taught differently. Dried herbs usually go in at the beginning so they have the time to develop their flavor and spread throughout the pot, unless it’s a short cooking time then they can be added later. Fresh herbs usually go in towards the end as the flavor blossoms quickly. But rules are meant to be broken especially by the cook so do what tastes best to you. My mother in law was Polish. The only Polish food she made was Babka and a spicy sugary cookie, both delicious. She mastered a lot of Italian dishes for her Italian husband. So Tony, I’ll up you one with your Cajun seasoning with 4-6 whole cloves in the meat sauce! LOVE your blog…


        1. Well the dry herbs go in the pot pretty early on in the process. After the olive oil, garlic, onion (i do throw in a little basil in the beginning – that’s a secret), then the paste, then diced tomatoes then sauce. Then I add the sugar wine and basil/oregano. After that the meat goes in and then it’s another 3 to 4 hours of cooking. The herbs do get to work it’s way through for 3 to 4 hours. Whole cloves in the sauce. hmm…. Might have to try that.


    1. I would not recommend that. Cilantro is a very different flavor than parsley and is usually in Mexican dishes that are pared together with much different ingredients.


      1. Ok. Thanks. I did chop it up and it seemed to have a strong smell. Way more than the curly parsley that i used. I made the recipe, put meatballs, sausage and pork chops in. Best ever had . my mom said the meatballs were the best she ever had, and she used to work in authentic italian restaurant. Thanks so much for this great recipe.

        Liked by 1 person

  35. Anthony….Thanks for posting this recipe! I grew up with this sauce just about every Sunday (unless we were out of town). My grandmother would make it exactly as you describe, and the taste was identical.
    I’ve shared this site with 20 or so people…You’re the Best!
    Jeff Trusso

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Awesomesauce-Been making it for quite a few years, have some tweaks of my own. We like mushrooms so we toss some fresh chopped shrooms in. A little tweak to the meatballs to, I call the recipe Pauls MeatyBalls! Like your website redo, nice. Need a printable version for the full recipe though ๐Ÿ™‚

    Making it again tomorrow (Sunday of course!)

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Hello Anthony. Couldn’t wait much longer to share this. I made a huge pot of gravy last Sunday. Made meatballs as usual, only instead of any additional meats (sausage, pork, braciole) I browned and added to the gravy 6# of fresh pork cheeks. After cooking in the gravy for 4+ hours, OMG. If you haven’t done so, it’s worth a try. Vi auguro una buona giornata.


  38. Anthony,

    Thank you so much for putting this online. I tried it on Christmas and it was a HUUUGE success. Tasted exactly like my grandmother used to make. It was a lot of fun to put together too!


  39. Those ingredients and the way you go about preparing the gravy are very much like the way my Grandma taught me! And, you’re right about the fat back — that’s really key to a lot of the flavor! You have a lot of nice little twists and turns that I’m dying to try out!

    By the way — and please don’t anyone shoot at me before I’m finish! — regarding the sausage, have you ever tried Premio brand, available from both Walmart and Sam’s Club? (Dives for cover…) About 15 years ago, they started carrying the Premio brand, still a family-owned business originally founded as the Garden State Sausage Co., which has been around for over 70 years. My Italian grandmother was so impressed with GSS, which was available “way back when” in NJ grocery stores, that she stopped making her special two-hour roundtrip “pilgrimages” to the Italian grocery in Orange, NJ, which around the block from where she grew up — that is, if sausage was the only specialty item she was missing to make Sunday dinner. Otherwise, it was in the car with Aunt Mary, her sister and “partner in crime,” and off to Martucci’s Brothers!

    Thanks for taking the time to write down your family recipes! They bring everything back as if it were only yesterday — coming home from church, opening the side door into the kitchen and smelling that heavenly aroma!


  40. I found your recipe years ago when I was searching for the perfect anniversary dinner (my husband loves good food), since then I have been making it every year, November 7th, time for Anthony’s Spaghetti… tomorrow the day is here again, and now our 3 boys get excited for it as well… Thank you for your recipe and a family tradition ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Yay! Plan on making more vids as I find the time. Glad you’re not afraid to tackle the all day cooking ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s becoming a lost art.


  41. I have linked to this webpage for years. This is the best pasta sauce imaginable. I make it often and freeze it. Which reminds me….time for another batch! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe. I’m excited to see your new videos, too!


    1. Yay! So glad you are still making the sauce! Hope you like the new website design? I’ve worked hard at making everything more accessible and getting the entire site mobile friendly. A monumental task, but was worth the effort I think ๐Ÿ™‚ Be sure to check out the new Braciole page I just added. I’ve gone into more detail than what I’ve had in the past for the process of making the Braciole.


  42. Thank you sooooooooo much for posting this recipe. This tastes exactly like my Mom used to make. She just passed away a few months ago and with it went her recipe as she was suffering from dementia. As hard as she tried to remember so we could write it down, it wasn’t the same. This brings back such great memories for my brother and I, who by the way said before I made it..”it won’t taste like Moms”….he ate his words. Now we can have this dinner every few months to remember her great cooking. Cheers!


  43. Wonderfully detailed instructions that answer everything I always wondered about! Thank you. I will make this for a party every year. Officially, “Anthony’s Spaghetti Sauce.”


  44. Yes I will try some if these when Nicola comes home from Russia. We love cooking together and your recipes are detailed enough to make it a fun event! Thank youโ˜บ Tony


    1. Omg!!! I worked in an Italian restaurant for 14 years for a large family that ate their meals before they opened and this is how they cooked every day!! I can’t tell you how much I miss the food but you have shared all the secrets!!! Thank goodness I found your site!!! I am making the eggplant parm and needed a brushup on sauce making!!! They also used eggy coating…can’t wait for this next meal!! Thanks for sharing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s