This Sunday gravy recipe—also called Italian Sunday sauce— is a long-standing culinary tradition within Italian families.
The term “Sunday gravy” referred to the Sunday afternoon meal of slow-simmered and seasoned tomato and meat sauce served over pasta. The family would gather each week for fellowship while enjoying their mother or grandmother’s Sunday gravy.
Seeing as how my sweetie is Italian, I finally asked him to make his version of Italian Sunday sauce so I could share the recipe here on Eat Move Make.
Ingredients for Italian Sunday sauce
- fresh tomatoes
- tomato paste
- sugar (this takes away the acid bite)
- olive oil
- Italian sausage links
How to make Sunday gravy
Step 1: Cut off ends of tomatoes, then chop them.
Step 2: Puree the tomatoes in a food processor or blender. This will have to be done in batches. Pour into slow cooker.
Step 3: Stir the remaining ingredients (except for the meat) and set cook temperature to low.
Step 4: Fry the Italian sausage links until seared and browned. Add to the Sunday sauce.
Step 5: Make Italian meatballs and bake them for about 20 minutes before adding them to the Sunday sauce.
Let the Sunday sauce simmer for 6-8 hours then serve over your choice of pasta.
Italian Sunday sauce recipe variations
For a quicker Sunday gravy recipe, substitute fresh tomatoes with 3 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes.
If using dried spices, alter the amounts to 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 tablespoon basil and 1/2 tablespoon thyme.
To cook on the stove, use a large stockpot and simmer for 6+ hours, stirring frequently so the Italian Sunday gravy doesn’t stick or burn.
Other pasta recipes you’ll enjoy
- Linguine with basil and brie
- Garlic broccoli pasta
- Garden fresh pasta salad with cilantro lime drizzle
- Grilled summertime veggies with pasta
- Penne pasta with pumpkin sauce
Sunday Gravy (Italian Sunday Sauce)
- 5 lbs roma tomatoes
- 1 12 oz can tomato paste
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 garlic cloves
- ⅓ cup onion chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons fresh oregano chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 Italian sausage links
- 1 pound meatballs
- Cut ends off Roma tomatoes then chop. Puree in blender or food processor until smooth. This will need to be done in batches because of the volume. Pour into slow cooker.
- Add remaining ingredients, except for meat. Set slow cooker to low.
- Fry sausages in skillet until seared and browned on the outside. Add to sauce.
- Prepare meatballs and bake for 20 minutes. (If meatballs are smaller, they don't need to bake as long. Mine are usually about 1+ ounce each - about 14 meatballs). Add baked meatballs to sauce.
- Cook on low heat for 8 hours, stirring occasionally.