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Sunday Sauce with Meatballs

By Paula Deen


Difficulty: Hard

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 20


  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground, plus more for meatballs black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus more, plus more for meatballs salt
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 6 cloves finely chopped, plus 7 garlic cloves, chopped and divided garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb or lean ground beef, pork, turkey, veal, chicken or any combination ground sirloin
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cut into thin strips fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup grated, divided Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1 cup plus 1/4 cup for meatballs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 (35 oz) cans plum tomatoes with basil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 lb trimmed pork spare ribs
  • 1 (6 oz) can for sauce and ribs tomato paste



Strain the plum tomatoes in a colander to extract the juice, breaking the tomatoes apart with your hands. Discard the pulp and set aside.

Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 4 cloves garlic, the onion, red pepper and black pepper. Sauté until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add juiced tomatoes, red wine, 1/2 cup Parmesan and salt. Add the tomato paste and the water and stir together over medium heat. *Cook’s Note: Tomato paste should be added after making meatballs and ribs.


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, 1/2 cup 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 1/2 cup of oil in a large skillet. Add 3 cloves chopped garlic and saute 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.

*Cook’s Note: 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 and remove the membrane. Sauté them in 1/2-cup oil until very brown and remove.

Return the garlic to the oil and add tomato paste (for the sauce) to the pan; Cook, stirring, over medium heat for about 3 minutes until it softens. Remove from the heat and add to the sauce.

Add the meatballs and spareribs to the sauce. 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.