Sunday Gravy

  • Serves

    serves 6

The Campo family has made this "gravy", a meaty tomato sauce, for generations. Mr. Campo learned the recipe from his mother, Dominica "Minnie" Campo, who he suspects intentionally left out an ingredient. His never tasted as sublime as hers until he figured out the secret: lamb chops. The Campos enrich the gravy with a variety of meats: links of hot Italian sausage, slender baby back ribs, hearty pork neck bones, and thin-cut lamb shoulder chops. Before adding it to the sauce, be sure to roast all the meat until it's completely caramelized; the sauce will taste richer. If you'd like to cook meatballs with the gravy, add them at least 20 minutes but no longer than two hours in advance of serving.


  • 1 lb. pork baby back ribs, cut into individual ribs
  • 1 lb. pork neck bones
  • 3⁄4 lb. hot Italian sausage links, cut into 2" – 3" pieces
  • 2 thin-cut lamb shoulder chops (about 1 lb.)
  • 2 (28-oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes, preferably san marzano, with their liquid
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, left whole
  • 2 (6-oz.) cans tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄4 cups white wine
  • 1 Tbsp. roughly chopped basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1⁄2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1⁄8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese


Step 1

Heat oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange ribs, neck bones, sausage, and lamb chops in a single layer on top. Roast meat, turning with tongs occasionally, until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 40 minutes for the sausage and 1 hour for the ribs, bones, and lamb. Set roasted meat aside.

Step 2

Meanwhile, run the tomatoes and their juice through a food mill twice; discard any remaining seeds or skin. Set puréed tomatoes aside.

Step 3

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and fry, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add 3 cups water and salt and pepper to taste and stir well. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add wine, basil, parsley, oregano, and reserved tomato purée. Stir well and cook for 10 minutes more. Partially cover pot and cook until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.

Step 4

Transfer the roasted meat to the pot with the tomato sauce. Add red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste and simmer, partially covered, until thickened, about 30 minutes more. (The sauce will appear glossy.) Stir in 1⁄3 cup of the cheese and cook briefly, partially covered, until flavors have melded.

Step 5

Transfer sauce to a large bowl and top with some of the cheese. (Leave the meat in the sauce, or serve it on the side.) Toss some of the sauce with Ricotta Dumplings, or cooked pasta, such as rigatoni, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

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