Italian Sunday Gravy

Tony was watching America’s Test Kitchens on our local PBS station yesterday morning, and as soon as he saw this recipe, he shouted “you have to make this!” 

In order to get the recipe though, we had to do a 14 day free trial at (I left myself a reminder to cancel, otherwise I’ll get charged $14.95!)  But boy the hassle of getting the recipe was SO WORTH IT!  And I may pay to keep the site – it is amazing!  So many recipes, you can print out shopping lists.   Check it out if you have time.

Italian Sunday Gravy

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage
  • 2 onions (yep, left those nasty things out!)
  • 12 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (I used Italian seasoning)
  • 1 six ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (I forgot to drain them!)
  • 1 28 can tomato sauce (I used the Italian tomato sauce that has extra basil and garlic)
  • 2 pounds bone-in country-style spareribs, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Add sweet sausage and cook until well browned and fat begins to render, about 8 minutes.  Using tongs, transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate to drain, then place in slow-cooker insert.  Repeat with hot sausage.
  2. Cook onions (not me!) in sausage fat over medium heat until well browned, about 6 minutes.  Stir in garlic and oregano and cook for 1 minute.  Add tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.  Stir in wine and simmer, scraping all the delicious browned bits from the pan with a wooden spoon, until wine is reduced, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to slow-cooker insert and stir in diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  3. Submerge spareribs and flank steak in sauce in slow-cooker insert.  Set slow cooker on low, cover and cook until meat is tender, 8 to 10 hours (or on high for 4 to 5).
  4. About 30 minutes before serving, transfer sausages, ribs, and flank steak to baking sheet and set aside until cook enough to handle.  Shred ribs and flank steak into small pieces, discarding excess fat and bones; slice sausages in half crosswise.  Use wide spoon to skim any fat off the surface, then stir sausages and shredded meat back into sauce.  Stir in basil and season with pepper. 
  5. Leftover gravy can be stored in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.




After pan frying the sausages, I dumped everyone into the pool and covered them up!

I put the flank steak on the bottom, then the ribs, and sausage on top

I put the flank steak on the bottom, then the ribs, and sausage on top

it all came up to the very top of my crock pot!

it all came up to the very top of my crock pot!

After cooking for about 7 hours, I took the meat out.  I carefully removed the bones and fat from the spareribs and used two forks to shred the pork and the flank steak.  I just sliced the sausage into rounds.

I let the meat cool for only about 15 minutes before shredding and slicing

I let the meat cool for only about 15 minutes before shredding and slicing

The beefiness (not even sure that is a word!) of the flank steak really made this sauce.  Tony said it was wonderful!  This is definitely a keeper – its a great recipe for company because it can be made ahead of time, and I can only imagine the flavors meld over time.

Have no idea how many calories this is, and I don't care!

Have no idea how many calories this is, and I don't care! I decided on rigatoni to catch all the sauce. I used shredded aged Parm, chopped fresh basil, and of course, my crushed red pepper!

So my recipe didn’t turn out for the superbowl recipe contest.  I made baby meatball calzones, but they didn’t turn out crispy after baking as I would have liked.  So I’ll have to try next time!

Also, tonight is the last night to submit your recipe for the BSI ingredient zucchini!  I changed it up and Hannah is going to be the judge simply because Tony doesn’t like tofu! 

Night all, see you in the a.m.!


25 thoughts on “Italian Sunday Gravy

  1. WOW! It was definitely worth it. YUM!

  2. So glad that you brought back BSI!! 😀

  3. Wow, that looks amazing!
    And thanks for sharing about the website!

  4. that looks so delish! And I think you are right it would be great for company.
    Thanks for stopping by BrisTikiBar.

  5. the mouth…she waters!

  6. Looks like Tony made a good call on asking you to make this for dinner. That is an awful lot of meat, but that’s ok because I really like meat. Great Job, it looks fabulous.

  7. That looks great! Thanks for sharing.

  8. OK you crack me up leaving the onions out! This is a great sounding gravy! Now Cooks Ilustrated is going to hound the crud out of you- they are known for that so DON’T forget to cancel!!!!

  9. yum yum yum, what a serious dinner!!

  10. Oh my lord that looks amazing! The recipe, the description, the photos… mmm. I adore hot Italian sausage, but its been ages since I last had it (my dad always made it. I don’t cook much meat on my own. It’s too much of a hassle hehe).

    Too bad the calzones didn’t work out! Love calzones.

  11. This looks like the type of thing reserved for a holiday. I’m salivating.

  12. holy cow look at all that meat! fantastic 🙂

  13. The sauce looks really great. Tomato sauce definitely adds depth of flavor to spaghetti sauce. We use pork neck bones and Contadina Italian style tomato sauce, etc. in our sauce. Guy’s aunt, who cooked for Dean Martin in Las Vegas and was married to a Maruca (restaurateur family), gave us her recipe. It’s so easy peasy and I’ve never found anything to top it. Love Cook’s Illustrated. Sometimes you can google the recipe and come up with it on a blog.

  14. Oh, BTW, we don’t put onions in our sauce. Well kind of. We put the whole onion in, it flavors the sauce, then we take it out. Guy’s aunt taught us this.

  15. Ok, you sent me this link weeks ago and I am finally getting through my emails and looking at this. It looks AMAZING! I am going to try this sometime when I feel like buying 6 lbs of meat! Thanks!

  16. I can’t wait to make this for my husband when he gets home from deployment. 🙂

  17. Looks good but misleading. THIS IS NOT THE COOKS ILLUSTRATED RECIPE. The real thing is out of this world

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  20. […] when we got home, I stared on my Italian Sunday Gravy.  That is tomorrow nights dinner.  Another name for it is $20 meat gravy, because there is a lot […]

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