Italian Sunday Gravy is a delicious all day sauce that will definitely please everyone. If you are not familiar with Sunday gravy, it is a red sauce cooked with meat for hours until tender. The Italian gravy is then served over top of al dente pasta and enjoyed by all.
What is Italian Gravy
Italian gravy, Sunday gravy, Sunday sauce, they 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.
Sundays were (are) the traditional day that Italian Americans like to gather as a family (the whole extended family). Much like a marinara sauce or a bolognese sauce, there are as many different recipes out there for Italian gravy as there are Italian families.
This Italian Sunday gravy recipe has 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 Sicilian Style Sunday Gravy
This Italian gravy is a Sicilian Sunday gravy recipe and it 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 ver 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 Italian gravy 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 Italian gravy has great memories for me and it will do the same for you too.
Ingredients Needed For This Sunday Gravy
This Italian gravy recipe is cooked with Italian spices, vermouth, tomatoes and pork until the meat is tender and the red sauce is smooth and infused with all the great flavors of the meat.
- Whole Italian Tomatoes (canned)
- Crushed Italian Tomatoes (canned)
- Large Bone in Pork Chops
- Fresh Basil
- Yellow or red onion
- Fresh Garlic
- 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
Notes about the ingredients in this Italian Gravy
In this Italian gravy recipe, 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.
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 this Italian gravy
First, making the sauce on the stovetop
The first thing you want to do when making this Italian gravy is start everything on the stovetop. This will give you a nice sear on your meat and the heat needed to really cook down the onions and garlic and alcohol from the vermouth.
Next, adding the Italian gravy ingredients to the slow cooker
Now that you have put together all the ingredients for the Italian gravy, you are going to add that to the slow cooker then cover it. The sauce cooks for 6- 7 hours on low until the sauce itself is smooth and the pork is falling off the bone.
When making this Italian Sunday gravy recipe, 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 Sunday gravy will taste even better.
Here Are Some More Italian Sunday Supper Recipes
- Pasta Genovese
- Pork Bolognese
- Authentic Bolognese
- Italian Baked Zucchini
- Baked Ham (Italian Style)
- Pasta Fagioli
- Italian Minestrone
- Chicken Saltimbocca
- Italian Meatball Soup (Italian Wedding Soup)
- Pizzelle Recipe
Italian Sunday Gravy Recipe - Sicilian Style
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
I've never made pork in a red sauce so I was intrigued and had to try it. This was fantastic. I will be making this again.
We made this for dinner yesterday and it was so good. The pork is just so delicious with the red sauce. I never thought to cook pork chops in red sauce but it is such a great combination of flavors. Thanks for sharing!