Jeff Mauro, Alex Guarnaschelli, Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee Biegel, and Geoffrey Zakarian make The Kitchen Family Sunday Sauce, as seen on The Kitchen, Season 31.
Recipe courtesy of The Kitchen

The Kitchen Family Sunday Sauce

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr 45 min (includes chilling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 25 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
What else can you say about classic Sunday Sauce? This sauce recipe is tried and true, passed down from generation to generation. Browning off the meat to start is an absolute must, laying the ultimate foundation for creating a perfect sauce. Some may say that the addition of a little sugar is controversial, but it balances out the acidity from the tomatoes and perfectly rounds out this deeply flavorful and satisfying classic Sunday sauce.




For Serving:


  1. For the meatballs: Spread the ground meat mixture in the bottom of a large bowl (or on a sheet pan). Add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt, red pepper flakes and egg. Use your hands to lightly mix all of the ingredients together, being careful not to overmix. Roll the mixture into balls (2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter). You should get about 10 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a sheet pan in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes.
  2. Cook the meatballs: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Working in batches if necessary, cook the meatballs in a single layer, spreading them apart so as to not overcrowd the skillet. Cook, rotating the meatballs every couple of minutes to brown all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to remove them to a clean sheet pan or plate. Set aside.
  3. For the sauce: While the meatballs are cooking, heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and let it start to smoke slightly. Add the pork bones and sear until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from the pot and place on a plate or sheet pan. Add the sausage to the pot and brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pot and add to the pork bones.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onions, dried parsley or Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and let cook until the garlic almost liquifies in the pot, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the puréed tomatoes. Add 1 1/2 cups water to the tomato cans and swirl them around to rinse off the residual tomato that clings to the sides. Add the tomato water to the pot along with the sugar and half the basil. Season with a large pinch of salt and some pepper. Give the pot a good stir, then add the seared pork bones, sausage and meatballs. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low. Place a lid on top of the pot, but don’t cover it completely; leave a small opening to allow some steam to escape. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened a bit and the meat is tender, 3 to 4 hours. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Add the remaining fresh basil and stir gently. Serve the sauce and meat over your favorite pasta with grated cheese on the side and with a loaf of crusty Italian bread.