Recipe courtesy of Gerard Renny

Sunday Gravy

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 3 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 10 cups
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2 1/2 to 3 pounds spareribs, separated into ribs, or short ribs

1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for tossing

2 onions, minced

12 clove garlic, smashed

1 recipe Braciole, recipe follows

1 pound Italian sausage (optional)

4 (28-ounce cans) peeled plum tomatoes, including the liquid

1/4 cup minced fresh oregano leaves; or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves; or 3 teaspoons dried, crumbled

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 recipe Meatballs, recipe follows

1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti, penne, or rigatoni, per 2 cups of sauce

Braciole (Stuffed Meat Rolls):

1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut and pounded into thin slices about 4 inches wide by 6 inches long

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

4 cloves garlic, minced



1 cup cubed stale bread (Italian bread)

Milk for soaking the bread

1 pound lean ground beef, such as sirloin

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

2 large eggs

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In a casserole or stockpot, combine the ribs with enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain. In a 10-quart casserole set over moderate heat, warm the oil and cook the onions and garlic, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the ribs, braciole, and sausage and cook until they're browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, herbs, and salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Add the meatballs and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours more. The longer the cooking time, the more concentrated the gravy will be. When the gravy is almost done, cook the pasta according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain. Remove all of the meat from the sauce and put on a platter. Pour some of the sauce into a gravy boat to serve on the side. Add the pasta to the remaining sauce and toss with a little oil. 
  2. Braciole (Stuffed Meat Rolls): Season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. In a bowl, combine the 1/2 cup Parmesan, garlic, and parsley. Divide the mixture among the meat slices, spreading it into an even layer, and roll up each slice to enclose the filling. Secure each roll with string or toothpicks.
  3. Meatballs: In a small bowl, combine the bread with enough milk to just cover and let the bread soak for 10 minutes. Squeeze dry and chop fine. In a bowl, combine the bread with the meat, garlic, parsley, Romano cheese, eggs, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into 12 to 14 meatballs, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, and chill until ready to cook. In a large saucepan or casserole set over moderate, heat the oil until hot. Add the meatballs and cook them until they're browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.