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Sunday Sauce with Bracciole, Meatballs and Sausage

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time4 hrs 30 mins
Total Time5 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dinner, Holiday
Keyword: Bracciole, gravy, Italian sausage, meat sauce, meatballs, sunday sauce



  • 5 cups grated bread, such as Italian bread or sourdough*
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 12 thin slices steak*


  • 2 lbs ground beef (I like 80/20)
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage*
  • 1 cup grated bread, such as Italian bread or sourdough*
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4

    hot Italian sausage link cut into 4 equal pieces

  • 2 cups red wine (I like to use a red blend), plus 1/2 cup*
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan-romano cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp dry basil, plus 1 tsp*
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder, plus 1/2 tsp*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry oregano, plus 1/2 tsp*
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Browning Meatballs/Bracciole:

  • 1/4 cup canola oil or olive oil


  • Get your sauce going: In a large stockpot, heat olive oil on medium-low. Add onions and salt and pepper to taste, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally- until onions are slightly softened and translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and add 2 cups wine (reserve the remaining 1/2 cup for later), tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes to the pot and stir. Stir in 1/2 tbsp dry basil (reserve 1 tsp for later), 1/2 tbsp garlic powder (reserve remaining 1/2 tsp for later),1 1/2 tsp dry oregano (reserve remaining 1/2 tsp for later), chopped parsley, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Add raw, quartered hot Italian sausages and parmesan to the pot, stir and cover. Leave to simmer.
    2. Make the Bracciole: Combine all ingredients (except steak) in a medium mixing bowl. Mix together (with your hands is best), until mixture just comes together when squeezed in your palm to form. If mixture is a bit too dry and isn't coming together easily, add a bit more olive oil. This should be a somewhat dry mixture, not wet or moist, and you will need to squeeze the filling together with your hands before rolling in steak to make sure it stays secure when rolling.
    3. Once the Bracciole filling is ready, place pressed filling in a small ball (about 2 tbsp or so) into the center of the thinly sliced steak- leaving room on all sides for overlap. Use your judgement, as steak sizing will vary. Gently press in the (shorter) left and right sides, and fold one of the long edges over mixture. Roll Bracciole toward unclosed edge of steak, and secure horizontally and vertically with toothpicks, making sure steak overlaps filling on all sides to ensure it stays inside while cooking. Steak sizes vary, so use anywhere from 4-6 toothpicks to make sure they are very secure.
    4. Make the Meatballs: Combine all ingredients is a large mixing bowl (again, using your hands is best). Once all ingredients are well combined, use a small ice cream scoop to measure the balls. Roll each ball with your hands until smooth and well shaped, and place onto a parchment lined tray so that they don’t stick as they sit. Continue until all meatballs are formed. Makes about 35 meatballs.
    5. Brown the Meatballs and Bracciole: In a large, deep frying pan, heat your browning oil (caola or olive oi) over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown Bracciole and meatballs, until well browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. As soon as each piece is browned, immediate transfer to pot with sauce with tongs, stirring (very gently) to make sure all are well coated in sauce as you go.
    6. Once everything is in the sauce pot, allow to cook covered, over low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.
    7. Finish the sauce: After 2 hours, add reserved wine, basil, garlic powder and oregano. Stir to combine, and cook another 2 hours, covered, stirring occasionally. Serve with your favorite pasta, garlic bread, and a big salad.