Sunday Sauce

October 24, 2022thetipsyhousewife

Sunday Sauce, A Classic Comfort Food

Sunday Sauce, a classic comfort food that my Mister’s Mom always made us. The sauce is special because it simmers all day creating a rich, fragrant sauce that is perfect with any pasta. I cannot lie, this sauce is a labor of love. Simply for the fact that it needs to be stirred throughout the 6 to 8 hours it needs to cook. Stirring is really the only requirement. This sauce is best made on a Sunday, when everyone is home, cozy on the couch, when it can be tended to throughout the day. It fills your home with delicious smells and the grand finale is a delicious Sunday dinner,

I will start out this post with saying that you will need a very large pot for this recipe. You will need room to stir, room to add tomatoes, the water, the beef neck bones and the meatballs. I do not recommend making this recipe in a crockpot because there is not a crockpot large enough, plus it needs lots of stirring, so if you’re taking off the lid to stir, it just adds cook time. Trust me when I tell you that this sauce is worth the labor of love. Just be sure to head over to Home Goods or any store, to buy yourself a large pot to make this. The good news is that this sauce and the meatballs freeze really well. You can make this batch, eat the meal, have leftover as well as a freezer meal, or two, to enjoy later.

Full recipe is linked below, and it is printable. I am going to share a few tips and tricks before that for your use.

Beef neck bones you can get from your local meat department or butcher.

Beef Neck Bones For Sunday Sauce

I use beef neck bones in my Sunday Sauce. Mister’s Mom sometimes used Pork Neck Bones. Either work. I prefer the beef neck bones because I like the beefy, rich flavor they yield. Some people use both beef and pork. The thing to remember about using any meaty bones, is that they get soft during cooking and some of the bones fall apart. You remove the bones in step ten of the recipe and you need to make sure to remove all the bones from the sauce. Also, be careful when stirring throughout the say, so you aren’t breaking up little bits off the bones. Once you remove the neck bones you can keep them warm and serve them as a side, the meat is delicious. You can also remove the meat and add it back to the sauce and discard the bones. You can also discard the bones completely. I see beef and pork neck bones on the refrigerator shelf at lots of grocery stores. If you do not see them, you can ask the butcher and they will get them for you and or save you some to pick up.

Meatballs cook IN the sauce.

Meatballs and Sunday Sauce

I was taught to cook the meatballs IN my Sunday. The recipe I use is LINKED HERE. In this recipe I cook the meatballs in a quick scratch sauce made with Italian Sausage. For this Sunday sauce recipe just use steps 1 thru 6. I included the recipe below as well. It is important to let the meatballs sit out, so they don’t fall apart while cooking.


  • 2 lbs of ground beef
  • 1 8 ounce container of powdered parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon of garlic salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of dried parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon of Maggi Seasoning (soy sauce or gravy master are good substitutes if you can’t find Maggi Seasoning)
  • 1 large yellow onion finely diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk


  1. Add the ground beef, seasonings and herbs, cheese and onions to a large bowl.
  2. Whisk the eggs with the milk and add to the bowl.
  3. Using your hands combine all the ingredients until it is just combined with the ground beef, do not over mix or you will have tough meatballs.
  4. Make about 2 inch balls with the meat mixture, again do not over handle or mix, loosely form the balls and set them out on a cookie sheet as you go.
  5. When you have all the meatballs formed leave them to sit out on the counter for 30 minutes. This helps them to remain intact while cooking.
  6. The best way to cook these meatballs is to throw them in a simmering sauce and simmer on low for 3 to 4 hours or into a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours on low. You can also bake these meatballs on a sheet pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. If you want to make these at another time, freeze these meatballs uncooked to defrost and cook at another time.
Seasonings are always a suggestion

Seasonings Are ALWAYS A Suggestion

One of the things that is very hard for me as a recipe blogger, is providing measurements for seasonings and herbs. The measurements for the seasonings and herbs in this recipe are merely a suggestion. Taste your sauce as it cooks throughout the day and adjust the seasoning to YOUR liking. There is no wrong way. Just be sure not to add too much salt, I always suggest adding extra salt at the very end.

I usually am serving a crowd when I made my Sunday Sauce, so paper plates it is!

Full Printable Recipe For Sunday Sauce

Sunday Sauce

Sunday Sauce

The Ultimate Sunday Sauce. This sauce cooks all day long creating a savory, meaty tasting sauce that is perfect for all your favorite pastas. You cook the meatballs in the simmer sauce so that they are tender and add great flavor to the final product.


  • 2 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 28 ounce cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 6 ounce cans of seasoned tomato paste , like the ones with garlic and herbs
  • 2 to 2.5 pounds of beef neckbones
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 12 to 15 fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Water
  • Olive Oil or Butter


The water in this recipe is a ballpark figure of how much water you will need to use. There have been times I have made this sauce and needed to add a little more water to keep the sauce simmering for the amount of time it needs to cook. Use your best judgement.

  1. Use a large stockpot, the bigger the better, add a splash of olive oil or a few tablespoons of butter to the pot. Add your onions and garlic cloves, and sauté on low, slowly letting them get golden brown.
  2. Dry off your beef neck bones, rub a little olive oil into them and season them well with salt and pepper on all sides.
  3. When your onions and garlic are golden brown, move them over to the sides of the pot and add your neck bones. Let the neck bones get browned on both sides. Flipping them once.
  4. When your neck bones are browned. combine the onions and garlic and neck bones and then add 4 cans of the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce to the pot.
  5. I add water to each of the cans, to get the excess tomato off the bottom and sides and add that to the pot as well. Plus one extra can of water. This is why you will need an extra big pot.
  6. Stir well, making sure none of the tomatoes or neck bones settle to the bottom of the pot, bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add your sugar, oregano, salt and pepper, parsley and fresh basil. Stir well to combine.
  8. Reduce the heat to very low and prepare to be stirring this off and on for at least 6 hours and up to 8 hours.
  9. Stir throughout the day, making sure none of the bones settle to the bottom and burn, and also being careful as the bones soften as the cook, that you aren't breaking off small fragments of bone into the sauce.
  10. Make the meatball recipe linked below. You will add them to the sauce around the 4 hour cooking point. You can make the meatballs a day in advance, just be sure to let them sit out for at least 30 minutes to get warmer before adding to the sauce. Carefully remove the beef neck bones from the sauce. Be sure to be aware that some of the bones will break off into the sauce. Remove all the bones. You can either throw away these meaty bones, or serve them as a side. They are delicious. Some also remove the meat from the bones and add them to the sauce.
  11. Slowly add the meatballs to the sauce, this will make your sauce rise up in the pot, so be sure you have a large pot. You may need to add 2 to 3 more cups of water so that the meatballs can simmer.
  12. Simmer the meatballs in the sauce for at least 2 hours, longer is better. But they will be fully cooked after two hours.
  13. At the end of cooking, mix the two cans of tomato paste with 2 cans of water (the same cans you got the paste out of) whisk until smooth, slowly add to the sauce, cook for at least 45 more minutes. Make sure you are stirring and being careful that the paste doesn't settle to the bottom of the pot and burn.
  14. tTaste your sauce and adjust the salt and seasonings if needed.
  15. Serve with your favorite pasta and be sure to have bread on hand to keep dunking into the sauce to taste as it cooks.

*I have also added Italian Sausage links to this recipe the same way as a the meatballs to cook in the sauce.

Meatball Recipe Linked Below

*omit the optional sauce ingredients and steps listed in this recipe and just add the meatballs to this sauce.

I hope you enjoy the coziness and happiness that this recipe brings. It is worth the time investment to make this sauce. Don’t forget to freeze some for another busy day dinner. This recipe also pairs really well with my Pizza Salad recipe.

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