Italian Sunday Red Sauce

Italian Sunday Red Sauce

Walk past the endless jars of pre-made spaghetti sauce and create a new Sunday family tradition with this Italian Sunday Red Sauce.

Italian Red Sauce

The Inspiration

There was a time that one could walk through any Italian or other ethnic neighborhood in America on Sunday and witness the tantalizing aroma’s of Sunday Supper keeping you company with every step. Endless families getting together in one house on Sunday for that special supper. To me, that is a fading tradition and one that needs to be brought back. Let’s bring the tradition back with a big pot of Red Sauce!

Let me demystify Red Sauce for just a moment. Red sauce is not something that is really hard to make I doesn’t have a thousand ingredients. Nor does it need to be toiled over endlessly for hours. A basic red sauce can be whipped together in just a few minutes and with as little as 6-7 ingredients. It may take a bit of time for the flavors to work their magic during the simmer, but after the initial get together, a few stirs here or there and you are good to go.

Note: The recipe below does make a good bit of sauce. Split it up and pop some in the freezer. This will get you a couple of meals depending on the size of your family, or the size of their appetite.

Let’s Make Italian Sunday Red Sauce

Sunday Ingredients

In a large sauce pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer and show it is hot, add the cuts of pork and Italian Sausage (optional). Allow the meat to brown on one side and then flip and allow to brown and develop flavor. Color is flavor.

Browned Pork Sausage

Once meat is brown, remove pan from heat and remove meat from pan. Place meat in an oven safe pan and place in a preheated 325° oven.

Browned pork sausage

You should now see some tasty flavor at the bottom of the pan from browning the meat. This is good and will help develop a deeper flavor to the sauce.

Tasty Bit

Reduce the heat on your burner to medium and replace the sauce pot. Add the diced onions to the pot and begin to brown. All the tasty bits should now loosen from the bottom of the pot. If not, gently scrape with a wooden spoon. This browning will help caramelize the sugars in the onions add should only take about 10-15 minutes. The deeper the brown the better the flavor. But do watch carefully as there is a small step between nice and brown and burnt. Add the garlic cloves about half way into the browning of the onions.

Add Onions Tasty Bits Deglazed

Once the onions have sufficiently caramelized, add the white wine. Why white wine? Well, we have worked hard to develop some nice flavors and sweetness through caramelizing the onions. Red wine is very astringent (sharp) and has a lot of tannins. These sharp flavors and tannins from red wine counteract the work we just did with the onions, and why do the work just to ruin it?

While the white wine is reducing, open the cans of tomatoes.

Reduced Wine

As soon as the wine has reduced by half, turn the heat down to medium low to low and add tomatoes to the pot. Rinse the cans out with water to get every bit of tomato and add the tomato water to the sauce.

Opened Tomatoes Rinsed Cans

Along with the tomatoes and tomato water add the oregano, salt, pepper and optional red pepper flakes if you choose to use. The peppers won’t add any heat, but will definitely add an additional layer of flavor.

Tomatoes-Added Herbs-Added

Puree the sauce with a stick blender until smooth. (This step was brought to you by my lovely wife. She doesn’t like a chunky sauce.)

Smooth Sauce

Italian Grandma Tip: You will notice there isn’t any sugar in this recipe. I’ve slipped in an old Italian Grandma Secret to test if you are paying attention. I’ve heard several Italian Grandma’s would add a peeled whole potato to their sauce to soak up the acid from the tomatoes. I do it, and so far, it works.

Now Sit Back and Stir

Seriously. No need to dote, allow the sauce to do its thing. Simply add the pork, sausage and drippings from the oven and allow the Italian Sunday Red Sauce to simmer for about 60 minutes. Keep the heat low so the sauce just barely bubbles and stir every so often. Make sure the sauce is not sticking to the bottom and you will be golden. If you do notice your sauce getting really thick at the bottom of the pot and sticking, back off the heat a notch or two.

The above step in making the Italian Sunday Red Sauce would also be a great spot to add a batch of Italian Meatballs to simmer in the sauce.

After you have allowed the sauce to do the work and the 60 minute egg timer has rung, add a bit more love with some fresh herbs. Chop some fresh flat leaf parsley and rough chiffonade a package of fresh basil. Add the herbs to the sauce, stir and let simmer for 10 more minutes. This is also a good time to check seasoning and add any additional salt, pepper, etc. to the sauce.

Fresh-Herbs-Red-Sauce Fresh-Herbs-Chopped-Red-Sauce Herbs-Added-Red-Sauce

Enjoy the sauce with a batch of Italian Meatballs over your favorite pasta. Enjoy!

Italian Sunday Red Sauce

Italian Sunday Red Sauce
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 50 mins
Walk past the endless jars of pre-made spaghetti sauce and create a new Sunday family tradition with this Italian Sunday Red Sauce.
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 quarts
Author: Nate
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound Pork nicely marbled, preferably bone in
  • 1.5 pounds Italian Sausage Optional, hot or sweet
  • 3 large Sweet Onions small diced
  • 26 cloves Fresh Garlic
  • 2 cups White Wine Semi Sweet
  • 3 28 oz. cans Tomato Sauce
  • 2 28 oz. cans Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes Optional
  • 2 tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 1 package Fresh Basil
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Flat Parley
  1. In a large sauce pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add cuts of pork and Italian sausage (optional). Turn occasionally, allowing the meat to brown and develop flavor. Remove pot from heat and meat from pot when browned. Place meat in oven proof pan and place in preheated 325° oven.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and place pot back on heat. Add small diced onions to pan and begin to caramelize, being careful not to scorch or over brown (burn). About 10-15 minutes. Add garlic cloves about half way into caramelizing the onions.
  3. Once the onions are caramelized, add the white wine. Open cans of tomatoes while the wine is reducing.
  4. As soon as the wine is reduced a little over half, reduce heat to medium low to low and add tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper and water from rinsed out tomato cans (about 3/4 of a can of water). Red pepper flakes if you choose to use. Puree sauce with stick blender until smooth.
  5. Add meat and meat drippings and lightly simmer for approximately 60 minutes. Stir frequently to ensure sauce doesn't scorch or burn. If sauce begins to stick to bottom, reduce heat.
  6. Add fresh herbs, taste sauce and adjust seasoning if needed. Let simmer 10 minutes more. Serve with your favorite pasta or discover a new one.