Sunday Sauce is a meaty red sauce simmered for several hours for a rich sauce using beef short ribs. Simple to make and will serve a crowd.
I’m not Italian despite my love of Italy, my mom is German and both of my parents are from California. What this means is that I had never even heard of Sunday Sauce until I started hanging out with Italians. I am NOT a red sauce fan, I order light sauce on pizza and avoid dishes made with red sauce at restaurants. All I can think of is Chef Boyardee in a can. However, once I tried really good sauce, I realized what I had been missing and wanted to try to re-create Sunday Sauce. Everyone I know seems to have a favorite recipe passed down from their grandma but most have meatballs. I wanted something a little heartier.
While I don’t mind letting something cook all day, most sauces take a lot of work with multiple cuts of meat, so I haven’t experimented with one. I found this recipe in Food and Wine where they were previewing some new cookbook recipes. The photo looked so good I thought I would start with their recipe.
How to make Sunday Sauce
You are not going to believe how easy this is, the prep time is about 30 minutes but most of that is letting the sauce come to a boil. Then you just let it cook for 4 hours. I find this works best in a dutch oven, this is the one I use and while a little pricey, I’ve had it for over 10 years so it’s a great investment. Here’s all you have to do:
- Brown the beef ribs
- Add the seasonings and tomatoes and bring to a boil
- Simmer for 4 hours, remove bones
- Combine with bucatini pasta and serve
There are only a couple of ingredients and while it cooks for 4 hours, you just have to stir it occasionally once you’ve done the initial prep. This is a perfect meal to try when you are going to be around the house all day. Perfect for a snow day, just have some ribs in the freezer and stock your pantry and you’ll be ready! The house will smell fabulous.
Instead of using several types of meat, I just used beef short ribs. The meat fell off the bone at the end and when added back to the sauce it not only added a great flavor but the texture was nice. Adding a whole carrot to the sauce will not only add a bit of sweetness, but it’s easy to remove at the end. Make sure you add the pasta to the sauce before serving so that the pasta can absorb some of the flavor. I used a pound of pasta because this sauce was so good, but if you are serving a crowd, you could add more pasta.
All I can say is that this was so good, Mike said it was perfect. It’s rare I find something that I make on the first try and don’t make it over and over again trying to get it just right. I have made this over and over again though because it is so yummy and makes the best left overs!
Coming from a red sauce hater, trust me when I tell you that this is Molto Bene and you don’t have to be in the kitchen all day.
If you make Sunday Sauce, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! I would love to see your creation.
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- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 lbs bone in beef short ribs
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 28 ounce cans whole peeled Italian tomatoes crushed by hand
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 lbs spaghetti
- In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Season short ribs with salt and pepper and add them to the casserole in a single layer. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned, 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, 12-15 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add tomato paste, and oregano and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes with their juices and the carrot and bring to a boil.
- Return the short ribs and their juices to the casserole, cover partially and simmer over low heat, turning the short ribs occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is thick, about 4 hours.
- Transfer the short ribs to a plate, discard the carrot. Discard the bones and shred the meat into 11/2 inch chunks. Return the meat to the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
- In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Transfer the spaghetti to the pot with the sauce, toss well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Serve the pasta immediately.