Homemade Italian Red Gravy

"A tradition homemade red gravy should be made with meat, specifically pork and veal. I use pork and veal neck bones for added flavor. Instead of sugar and water, I use a little more tomato paste than usual plus Chianti and minced onion. Fresh herbs are vital to the outcome of the flavor, so throw away any of your dried herbs, they're crap. I also use grated cheese, it's a nice touch, especially if you're using the sauce for pasta. (Note: The amount of meatballs depends on how much meat you use and how big you make them. I use a little over a pound of meat and that usually translates to 8-16 meatballs.) VARIATION: Instead of frying neck bones, and if you have more time on your hands, you can braise a couple of good pork and veal shanks in red wine and let them soak in the sauce."
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Ready In:
4hrs 20mins
20-25 cups




  • Cook meatballs in 2 tbsp olive oil, set them aside, keep leftover oil.
  • Add remaining olive oil to left over oil from meatballs.
  • Sautee onion for 5 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add pork and veal neck bones, continue cooking for 3 minutes.
  • Add garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in cans of tomatoes one at a time, wine, herbs, salt and pepper.
  • Cook on medium-high until the sauce boils, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 hours, stirring frequently.
  • Add cheese and meatballs and continue simmering for another 2 hours, stirring frequently.
  • Remove and discard neck bones and bay leaves.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Chef Saskatchewan B
    This was my first attempt at making gravy or speghetti sauce from scratch. It produced a much thicker sauce than any jar sauce out there. The flavour was a little bland which I will correct next time with more garlic and fresh herbs. This is just a personal taste and not necessarily a short coming of this recipe. The meatball reference were absolutely fantastic. I've made some pretty poor meatballs in my time so I can tell you this was a definite success. Go ahead all you non Italians and give this a shot. You won't be disappointed.



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