Sunday Sauce with Meatballs

Total Time:
2 hr 45 min
Prep:
25 min
Cook:
2 hr 20 min

Yield:
4 to 6 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • Sauce:
  • 2 (35-ounce) cans plum tomatoes with basil
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • Meatballs and Ribs:
  • 1 pound ground sirloin or lean ground beef, pork, turkey, veal, chicken, or any combination
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound pork spare ribs, trimmed
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste, for sauce and ribs
  • Sauce:
Directions
Sauce:

Strain the plum tomatoes in a colander to extract the juice, breaking the tomatoes apart with your hands. Discard the pulp and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 4 cloves garlic, the onion, red pepper and black pepper. Saute until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add juiced tomatoes, red wine, Parmesan and salt. Add the tomato paste and the water and stir together over medium heat. *Cook's Note: Tomato paste should be added after making meatballs and ribs.

Meatballs:

Put the ground meat in a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and add them to the meat along with 6 cloves garlic, the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Parmesan and milk. Mix this all together with your hands. Wet your hands with water and continue to wet them as you pinch meat from the bowl and roll into 2-inch balls. Roll the balls in the flour.

Heat 1/2-cup of oil in a large skillet. Add 3 cloves chopped garlic and saute until golden brown. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the meatballs and saute over medium-high heat, turning them until they are brown all over.

*Cook's Note: As soon as you can pick them up with a fork, they are ready. You don't want them to be well done. If the meatball slides off the fork when you pick it up, it needs to cook a little longer.

Ribs:

Cut the ribs apart and remove the membrane. Saute them in 1/2-cup oil until very brown and remove.

Return the garlic to the oil and add tomato paste (for the sauce) to the pan; Cook, stirring, over medium heat for about 3 minutes until it softens. Remove from the heat and add to the sauce.

Add the meatballs and spareribs to the sauce. Bring to an easy boil, then simmer over low heat for 2 hours. Add the basil and simmer for 15 minutes more. The spareribs should be very tender, falling off the bone and the meatballs should float in the sauce


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    22 Reviews
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    If there were 10 stars to give, I'd give 20...I've made a LOT of sauce recipes in the past 30 years, but this one is THE ONE. I doubled it, and I'm so glad I did because after the meatballs and ribs were gone, I used it for shrimp and spaghetti, which was sublime. Thank you Tony Danza!!! <3
    I tried this recipe because I was searching for an alternative way to use pork spare ribs other than BBQ. The sauce was good, but I didn't feel the flavor matched with pork. Still searching for alternative uses for pork spare ribs.
    I used the juice from the tomatoes/added more than one can of tomato paste. I was confused on the meat for the meatballs. A WHOLE pound for beef and the choice of the pork/turkey/chicken. Maybe I didn&#39;t understand it? I cook the onions&garlic for the meatballs, so that there would be no crunchiness from the onions and garlic. I didn&#39;t use the rib. Maybe someday. So far, its good! Oh..I used less that 1/2 c of the wine. I used 1/3 of a cup. But, next time, I&#39;ll probably use less. :
    I've only done the meatball portion of this recipe, but instead of frying, I omit the flour and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Then I throw them in the crock pot with some sausage and sauce. It is AMAZING! The first time I made them was my son's first birthday party...everyone raved. This one is a keeper!
    One more thing.....add less salt than they say in the meatballs..The cheese will have enough salt.
    this recipe is amazing!! will make this dish again & again!!
    I tweaked this a bit with more garlic and red pepper. We cooked it day one and served it day 2. It was fantastic and we have had rave reviews from our guests that want us to do it again.
    Too much salt in the meatballs. No need for so much salt added; the cheese has enough salt in it. Cut the salt down, if even added. Use a tad more fresh garlic for flavor, and some fresh parsley in the meatballs
     

     
    Other than that the meatballs were exceptional
    This was unbelievable! I followed it almost exactly and was everything I was hoping for. The only change I made was I substituted red wine vinegar for the red wine since I can't have any. I liked the flavor it added but the acidity was too much so I had to cut it with some sugar. I've been craving an Italian meal from scratch and have never tried to make sauce before. Needless to say, my family loved it and there will be plenty for leftover meals : I can't say enough about this recipe... the pork was delicious, so tender. I don't even really like pork either so that's saying a lot. Great job Tony!
    The best I have found!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
    You will have to make the recipe EXACTLY as written to believe how perfect it is. Initially, I was hesitant to use so much garlic, but it is exactly the correct amount. Every time I got hungry for about 2 weeks after first tasting this dish, I craved yet another meatball. Yes, it is really that good. ENJOY!!!
    I remember watching Tony Danza making this dish, and I always wanted to try it . THIS RECIPE IS OUTSTANDING!!. My family and co- workers loves it. Anytime I make spaghetti, I am using this Sunday Sauce with Meatballs.
    I have been looking for this ..just made it for the first time over New Years..sorry not Sunday...my friends and family went crazy..follow the recipe exactly..it is awesome
    I didn't make the sauce but the meatballs were soooooooo flavorful! The garlic really comes through, which was good considering the fact that everyone in my family will eat anything smothered in garlic. They were really moist and tender too! I used the meatballs in Emeril's meatball pizza, and the combination was a huge hit with my brothers and dad.

     
    If you follow this recipe exactly, it is AWESOME! I am an Sicilian Italian and have got lazy over the years servicing "jarred" sauce. After seeing Tony on Paula Deen's show, I decided to try this recipe which is different than my own family recipe. I got rave reviews from my family. I forgot how good homemade sauce is. I have shared this recipe with coworkers and everyone loved it. Thanks Tony for sharing.
    I made this sauce and meatballs (not the ribs)we loved it but when you crush the plum tomatoes over the strainer what do you do with the tomato juice? I did end up adding alittle to the sauce cause there wasn't much there and if I did added the ribs there's no way it would have covered them it barely covered the meatballs.And where do you find 35oz. cans of tomatoes? I had 28oz. cans. Thanks Tami
     
    I am from an Italian American family and grew up eating meatballs all my life and do not remember it being this good. The sauce is very tastey, (as with all meat sauces, the longer you cook the thicker and tastier it gets) and the meatballs are amazing (very moist). I have cooked this recipe twice for company and both times they raved about the meal....Thanks Tony!!1
    The meatballs were great, very tender and flavorful. But I really didn't care for the sauce, it had a wonderful flavor to it but way to thin for my liking.
    These meatballs could not have turned out better ! They were very tender and had ton of flavor !! Great for Meatball Subs !! Great simple, sauce, without the busyness of some sauces !! Excellent !
    I followed this recipe completely and it turned out amazing. Adding the ribs made this sauce so delicious. I would have never thought of adding that. I will use this recipe all the time.
    I made these meatballs last night & they were a hit. I baked them instead of frying & didn't make the sauce, but the meatballs were very good!
    I made this recipe on Sunday. I always try finding new ways to cook meat balls and I decided to make Paula Dean and Tony Danza recipe from Paula's party and one thing that I did is subtituted the rib with ground beef and I'm not a beef eater it tasted great. Even my daughter that is not a meat ball eater loved it.
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