Sunday Gravy with Meatballs

Recipes from 01/13/17 by Chef Michelle Bernstein

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 rack of baby back ribs
  • ½ pound Italian chorizo
  • ½ pound spicy Italian chorizo
  • 1½ cups yellow onions, ¼-inch diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 (large 28 ounce) cans whole peeled Italian DOP tomatoes, crushed well)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • a few sprigs fresh basil
  • 1 batch meatballs (recipe below)
  • *Spaghetti cooked al dente
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for serving
  • Olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 325˚F.  Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Sear the ribs until brown in about 3-4 batches.  Remove and set aside.  Sear the sausages, remove them.

Reduce the heat a little and add the onions, stirring until golden brown and soft.

Add the garlic, oregano and tomato paste and stir for 4-5 minutes. 

Add the wine, crushed tomatoes and broth, scraping and stirring.  Return the ribs and sausages to the pot, bring to a simmer, cover and place in the oven for 2-2½ hours. 

Meanwhile, make the meatballs.  Allow to chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.  Sear in a tablespoon of olive oil until golden. 

Remove the sauce from the oven, remove the ribs and sausages, then, add the meatballs.  Cover and return pot to the oven.  Cook for 15 minutes. 

Cook the pasta according to package instructions, save 1 to 2 cups of the water from cooking pasta, add to the sauce, if needed.

Arrange the meatballs, ribs, sausages on a platter.  Toss the pasta in sauce.  Garnish with basil leaves, parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. 


Yields about 16 large meatballs

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/3 pound ground pork
  • 1/3 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 pound ground veal
  • ½ cup prosciutto 
  • ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup finely grated parmesan, if desired
  • 6-inch piece of dry bread (crusts removed) soaked in ¼ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • *if desired add 3 ounces finely chopped prosciutto to meatballs

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, add the onion and garlic and sweat until soft and transparent.  Remove from the pan and allow to cool.

Combine the rest of the ingredients including the cooked garlic and onion in a large bowl, mix until well combined.  Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.  Roll the mixture into large 1½-2 inch balls.