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Anthony Bourdain's Italian Sunday Gravy with Sausage

Tomato sauce
Igor Dutina


  • 12 links sweet or spicy Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound cooked pasta, for serving

Chef notes

This is an updated version of my Sicilian grandmother's classic recipe, and it packs a punch. It's hearty, a little meaty and perfect over your favorite pasta. If you're like me, you'll find yourself looking for any piece of bread to mop up the leftovers!



In a large pan over medium-high heat, cook the sausage until browned. Set aside.


In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until browned. Add the onions and cook until they become white.


Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the crushed tomatoes, water, basil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.


Once the mixture begins to bubble, add the Parmesan cheese, sausage links and bay leaf. Stir to combine, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and let it simmer for 3½ hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with your favorite pasta and top with grated Parmesan cheese.