Tony Danza's Sunday Sauce with Meatballs and Ribs
Tony Danza's Sunday Sauce with Meatballs and RibsTODAY, November 18th 2016.
Zach Schiffman / TODAY
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Rating:
3.8474576 (118 rated)

This sauce cooks a long time. Low and slow. No shortcuts on Sunday.

It always has meatballs and pork ribs, and sometimes has braciole and/or sausages. Obviously this is a meat sauce. Not gravy. We think gravy goes on turkey.

Ingredients

  • Sauce

    • 2 cans (35 ounces each) plum tomatoes with basil*
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 cup red wine
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • Meatballs and ribs

    • 1 pound ground sirloin or lean ground beef, pork, turkey, veal, chicken, or any combination
    • 2 eggs
    • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 pound pork spareribs, trimmed

Preparation

Strain the tomatoes in a colander to extract the juice, breaking the tomatoes apart with your hands. Discard the pulp. (This eliminates the bitter part of the tomato.)

Next make the meatballs. Put the ground meat in a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and add them to the meat along with 6 cloves garlic, the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and milk. Mix this all together with your hands. Wet your hands with water and continue to wet them as you pinch meat from the bowl and roll into 2-inch balls. Roll the balls in the flour.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add 3 cloves chopped garlic and sauté until golden brown. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the meatballs and sauté over medium-high heat, turning them, until they are brown all over. As soon as you can pick them up with a fork, they are ready. You don't want them to be well done. (If the meatball slides off the fork when you pick it up, it needs to cook a little longer.)

Cut the ribs apart. Saute them in the hot oil until very brown and remove. Return the garlic to the oil and add the tomato paste to the pan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Back to the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 4 cloves garlic, the onion, red and black pepper and sauté until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the juiced tomatoes, red wine, Parmesan, and salt. Add the tomato paste and the water and stir together over medium heat. Add the meatballs and spareribs. Bring to an easy boil, then simmer over low heat for 2 hours.

Add the basil and simmer for 15 minutes more. The spareribs should be very tender, falling off the bone, and the meatballs should float in the sauce.

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Tony Danza shows how to make his famous meatballs (and reveals his lasagna secret)

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