Pork Chops in Tomato Sauce also known as Sicilian Italian Gravy is a delicious all day sauce that will definitely please everyone. If you are not familiar with Sunday gravy, it is a red tomato sauce cooked with meat for hours until tender.
Pork chops and gravy yields a Sicilian style of Italian tomato sauce that produces the most tender and delicious pork and the most amazing tomato sauce to serve over pasta or cheesy polenta.
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What is Italian Gravy?
Italian gravy, Sunday gravy, Sunday sauce: these are all names for the same thing, a red sauce cooked all day long with meat, spices, onions and garlic. The debate of what to name this Italian style of sauce is still going on.
Italian gravy became know as a Sunday Sauce by Italian Americans because it would take so long to cook, and weekends were preferred when making this. In our house growing up, the Sunday sauce was made along with my grandmothers pizzelle recipe every single week.
Sundays were (are) the traditional day that Italian Americans like to gather as a family (the whole extended family). Much like a San Marzano sauce or a bolognese sauce, there are as many different recipes out there for Italian gravy as there are Italian families.
This version of Sunday gravy is a Sicilian gravy which consists of pork chops in tomato sauce that cooks for hours. These Sicilian pork chops and gravy have dry vermouth in it which creates a very distinct flavor that really makes the sauce amazing.
Many Sunday sauces will have either vermouth or wine to add even more depth of flavor. If you do not have vermouth on hand, I will give you some great substitutions below in the tips section.
About this recipe
This Sicilian pork chops in tomato sauce was given to me by family friends who are Sicilian. The way this Sicilian Sunday gravy is traditionally made is with meatballs and a single bone in pork chop.
After the sauce cooks for hours in the slow cooker, the entire Italian family (and any friends invited over) will sit down to eat this delicious Italian gravy. The gravy is served along with the meatballs over a bed of pasta and more sauce on the side.
The one pork chop is always reserved for the husband as is tradition.
As the name suggests, this is made every single Sunday. I certainly took advantage of this by stopping over as often as possible on Sundays.
For this recipe, I changed it up a bit and left out the meatballs portion and added multiple large bone in pork chops so everyone can enjoy them, not just the husband.
The bone in pork chops cooks in the red sauce for hours until the meat is falling off the bone. The sauce picks up all the delicious flavors of the pork and the bone much like making a homemade soup but it is an Italian gravy.
It is delicious and easy and once you get the ingredients into the slow cooker, all you have to do is wait and enjoy the great aroma filling up your home on Sundays. This Sicilian gravy has great memories for me and it will do the same for you too.
This pork chops in gravy recipe is cooked with Italian spices, vermouth, tomatoes and pork chops until the pork is tender and the red sauce is smooth and infused with all the great flavors of the meat.
Here is what you will need:
- Whole Italian Tomatoes and Crushed Italian Tomatoes: You can use canned versions of both of these ingredients for easier prep.
- Large Bone-in Pork Chops: The bone is important because it keeps the pork chops tender and it adds flavor to the tomato sauce.
- Fresh Basil: For an aromatic and herbal flavor.
- Onion: Yellow onion and red onion will both work well here.
- Fresh Garlic: Jarred garlic can be used in a pinch, but I recommend using the freshest garlic possible!
- Pasta: I prefer rigatoni or ziti since this is more traditional and better for scooping up the meat and sauce together.
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper
About the Ingredients
For pork with tomato sauce, I used tomahawk pork chops (which you will see in the pictures as they are extra long) because they were on sale and I loved the idea of having more bone cooking in the red sauce all day. Regular bone in pork chops will be fine as well.
Do make sure that you buy nice thick pork chops. The pork will be delicious and tender after cooking for hours so you want a good amount of that meat.
This recipe calls for two large pork chops because it serves four people. If you are making this for more than four people then try to double the recipe below.
How to Make Pork Chops and Gravy
- First, you want to sear the pork chops then add the aromatics. This will be the base of flavor for the tomato sauce.
- Once you have seared the pork chops and sauteed the onions and garlic, you add the tomatoes and crush them down. I like to use a potato masher for this part but you could use the back of a spoon if you prefer.
- The searing of the meat along with the onions and garlic and alcohol from the vermouth will really give the tomato sauce so much flavor.
- The rest of the flavor in the sauce comes from slow cooking the pork in the tomato sauce.
- Now that you have put together all the ingredients for the Italian gravy, add that to the slow cooker and cover it.
- Cook for 6- 7 hours on low until the sauce is smooth and the pork is falling off the bone.
In an Italian home, this is normal to wake up early and start an all day sauce that you will smell cooking all day long but cannot eat until dinner! 🙂
- When making this pork chops in tomato sauce, make sure you are using dry vermouth and not sweet Vermouth. If you do not have Vermouth on hand, Sauvignon blanc or Sake make a great substitute for the Vermouth.
- Also, for the best results when making this recipe, try to look for the best quality ingredients you can find (pork, tomatoes, pasta, etc). This is a special Sunday meal and if you are starting with great ingredients, then your Sicilian pork chops in tomato sauce will taste even better.
These pork chops in gravy pair well with a wide variety of side dishes. Serve them over pasta or polenta, next to your favorite roast veggies, or with a loaf of fresh bread. See below for more specific pairing suggestions as well!
Using bone-in pork chops is a great way to ensure the final result will be juicy and tender. Because this recipe slow cooks all day, the chops don't dry out and the final result is fall-off-the-bone tender.
Milk can be used as a marinade ingredients to help tenderize your pork chops. I've found that slow cooking is enough to get them perfectly tender, so it's not necessary for this recipe.
If you are looking for ideas of what to serve with pork chops and gravy, here are some ideas:
More Italian Sunday Supper Recipes
- Pasta Genovese
- Pork Bolognese
- Mediterranean Tuna Steak Recipe
- Italian Baked Zucchini
- Italian Baked Ham
- Pasta Fagioli
- Italian Minestrone
- Chicken Saltimbocca
- Italian Meatball Soup (Italian Wedding Soup)
- Pizzelle Recipe
Italian Gravy: Pork Chops in Tomato Sauce
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!
- Slow Cooker
- 2 bone in pork chops large, about 1 inch thick
- 28 ounces whole Italian tomatoes canned. Preferably San Marzano.
- 14 ounce crushed tomatoes canned
- 1 small Spanish onion diced fine
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 ounces dry Vermouth or you can substitute with Sake or Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 2 fresh basil leaves
- 1 dried bay leaf
Starting the Italian gravy on the stovetop first
- In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil.1 tablespoon olive oil
- Sprinkle a little kosher salt over the pork chops the add them to the hot pan.2 bone in pork chops
- Cook on both sides for about 3 minutes or until a light brown color appears.
- Remove the pork from the pan and set aside.
- In the same sauté pan over medium heat, add your onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.1 small Spanish onion
- Now add your garlic and cook for another minute.3 cloves garlic
- Add the Vermouth and stir around in the pan and let the alcohol cook off, about 2 minutes.2 ounces dry Vermouth
- Now add your canned whole tomatoes and crushed tomatoes to the pan.28 ounces whole Italian tomatoes, 14 ounce crushed tomatoes
- Gently press down the whole tomatoes with a potato masher or bottom of a mug until there are no more whole tomatoes left.
- Add your kosher salt and pepper and stir well.1 teaspoon kosher salt, ⅛ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
Adding ingredients to the slow cooker
- Place the seared pork chops in your slow cooker and turn the heat to low.
- Now pour your sauce over the pork chops in the slow cooker.
- Add the fresh basil and dried bay leaf.2 fresh basil leaves, 1 dried bay leaf
- Cover and cook for 6 hours or until the sauce is smooth and the pork is falling off the bone.
- Make a full package of rigatoni or ziti and cook according to manufacturers instructions for al dente.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain and place back into the pot.
- Add a ladle of pasta sauce to the pasta and mix well to keep the pasta from sticking.
- Pour your pasta on to a large plate.
- Gently remove the pork from the slow cooker and place on top of the pasta.
- Scoop out the remaining sauce in the slow cooker into a bowl and serve on the side of the pasta and pork.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here