Recipe courtesy of Michele Riggi

Michele Riggi's Sunday Gravy with Meatballs, Sausage and Pork Chops

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 8 hr 30 min
  • Active: 1 hr 20 min
  • Yield: 20 servings
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1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly lengthwise 

4 pounds boneless pork chops, cut in half 

3 pounds hot Italian sausage, cut into 3-inch pieces 

3 pounds sweet Italian sausage, cut into 3-inch pieces 

Two 6-ounce cans tomato paste 

Eight 10-ounce cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, pureed 

24 Meatballs, recipe follows

2 1/2 cups red wine 

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh parsley 

1 cup chopped fresh basil 

4 tablespoons dried basil 

2 tablespoons dried oregano 

2 tablespoons dried parsley 

2 tablespoons garlic powder 

1 tablespoon salt 

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 

2 bay leaves 

3 pounds spaghetti 

1 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Freshly grated Parmesan, for sprinkling 


1/2 loaf Italian bread, sliced

2 cups milk 

6 pounds ground beef 

6 eggs, beaten 

2 1/2 cups grated Parmesan 

4 tablespoons dried basil 

4 tablespoons dried parsley 

1 tablespoon dried oregano 

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 

Extra-virgin olive oil, for greasing 


  1. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Once it begins to shimmer, add half of the sliced garlic and cook until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the garlic from the pan and discard. Working in batches, add the pork chops and cook until well browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the pork chops to a plate and let rest.
  2. Wipe the pan clean and place it back on the burner. Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the remaining garlic and cook until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes. Once again, remove the garlic from pan and discard. Working in batches, add enough of the sausage to the pan to form a single layer, and brown well on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the sausage to a plate and set aside.
  3. In a blender, puree the tomato paste with 2 cups water. In an 8-quart stockpot over low heat, add the tomato paste mixture, the pureed San Marzano tomatoes, the pork chops and sausage and the meatballs. Then add the red wine, fresh parsley and basil, dried basil, oregano, parsley and garlic powder, and the salt, pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 6 hours, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the pork chops are fork tender.
  4. When you are ready to serve, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and serve the sauce and meats over the pasta. Garnish with chopped parsley and sprinkle with Parmesan.


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, soak the bread in the milk for 5 minutes; then use your hands to break up the bread into crumbs. Add the ground beef, eggs, Parmesan, basil, parsley, oregano and pepper and gently mix together just to combine. Pat the mixture into meatballs, about 1/2 cup per meatball. Transfer the meatballs to a large, well-greased roasting pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until cooked through.