Now, I’m by no means a Paleo dieter. In fact, my arteries are laughing at the idea you even thought I could give up cheese. However, as I mentioned in my story (‘FOMO & the Quest to Restore Sunday Dinner’) I love using this recipe as a base for my Sunday Gravy because it embodies everything Sunday Dinner should be. It has accessible ingredients and can be easily manipulated based on what’s in your fridge. Also, it takes enough time to prepare so you get the chance to catch up on whatever is important in your life.

I hope you get the chance to experiment with this. And more importantly, get to share it with some people you love.


Sunday Gravy


  • This recipe takes about 5 hours total, but only 45 minutes are hands-on. The rest is for simmering in the oven, so plan accordingly.
  • You can adapt the recipe to your choosing – we certainly have our own preferences. The important thing is to keep the ratios about the same so that you get a thick, well-simmered sauce.
  • This sauce makes a lot – like ten servings worth – so be prepared to have a party, eat it all week, or freeze it. It will keep for four days in the fridge and six months in the freezer.
  • Make sure to use a very large pot – you do not want this spilling over in the oven.
  • We served ours over pasta, but the opportunities for this sauce are endless. The book suggests stuffed peppers and a frittata, but as a base for chili or over polenta are great options as well.
  • This recipe is lightly adapted from Michelle Tam and Henry Fong’s cookbook titled Ready or Not.


1 T. EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
3 (28oz) cans of San Marzano whole tomatoes
1 lb. sweet and/or hot Italian sausage (we used a half pound of each)
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 ½ lbs. flank steak, cut in half, crosswise
2 lbs. boneless pork country-style ribs, from the shoulder
2 bay leaves, dry
1 tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste)
½ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper


  1. Place a rack in the lower-middle position in the oven and preheat it to 300 degrees F.
  2. Place the canned tomatoes in a large bowl and place the bowl in the sink (for easier cleanup). Using your hands nor an immersion blender, crush or puree the tomatoes. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil on the stove in an 8-quart oven safe heavy-bottomed pot (such as a dutch oven) over medium heat. Once the oil is sizzling, brown the sausages in the pot, approximately 5 minutes on each side. Remove sausages from pot and set aside.
  4. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the now empty pot and season the vegetables with salt. Saute the mixture for 10-12 minutes, or until softened.
  5. Now add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the color becomes darker.
  7. Add the broth and use your spoon to scrape the browned pieces at the bottom of the pan (do not discard, leave the bits in the sauce – they add flavor).
  8. Add the crushed/pureed tomatoes to the pot and stir. Then add the browned sausages and the flank steak and ribs gently into the sauce.
  9. Carefully add the spices to the pot (the bay leaves, 1 ¼ teaspoons salt, oregano, pepper (to taste) and red pepper flakes). Try to stir the mixture as best you can, as the pot may be very full. Turn the heat to high in order to bring everything to a boil.
  10. Wearing oven-mitts, gently move the pot to the preheated oven. Partially cover with the pot lid, but leave the lid about one inch off of one side in order for steam to escape.
  11. Cook until the meat is fork-tender, about three to four hours. Do not overcook or the meat will be tougher than is ideal. The sauce will be reduced (about 25%) when it is done.
  12. After the sauce is cooked, remove it from the oven and discard the bay leaves (if you can find them). Transfer the meat to a large cutting board.
  13. Cut the sausage links into pieces (thirds or fourths) and shred the ribs with forks or meat shredders. Toss any extra fat or gristle. Cut flank steak into two pieces crosswise and shred it as well, tossing any tough tendons or gristle.
  14. Remove the layer of fat from the top of the sauce with a spoon, if you wish (but it’s tasty, so you can leave it too, for a richer sauce). Now put the meat back into the sauce, stirring to mix. Adjust seasoning as desired.
  15. Add fresh basil and parsley, stir, and plate as desired. Enjoy!