If you grew up in an Italian family like I did, chances are you had Sunday Dinner (at 1:00 PM) each week with your family. And, if you were lucky enough like I was, your extended family was also there. Each week from when I was a child until well into my 20’s, we were all at my Nani’s house every week for Sunday Sauce (There is no Gravy vs Sauce debate-it is just sauce!).
This tradition, though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, was something that just isn’t possible in today’s world of activities, sports, and other obligations. Sometimes I think it was better when there was no choice-you just went. There was never a thought of doing anything else on a Sunday. Looking back now, its those family dinners became a big part of who I am. Whenever possible, l will make a Sunday Sauce and try to keep the tradition going in some way.
Authentic Italian Sunday Sauce
When my Nani was sick, I spent all those hours in the hospital talking to her about her recipes that I knew only existed in her head. I wanted to be able to continue the traditional foods for our kids, and for our kids to pass them down to their kids
This Sunday Sauce is my Nani’s recipe (and therefore my Mom’s too) and the meatballs are from her sister, our beloved Aunt Pat. who recently passed away at the age of 94 as the matriarch of our family.
While this isn’t exactly a low calorie, “diet” (I hate that word) recipe I have adapted it to be my own version of healthier by using organic ingredients, grass-fed/antibiotic free meats, and baking instead of frying. I think they would approve. One thing I don’t mess around with is the Farbeware pot that I use.
My Sunday Sauce recipe is very rustic-there aren’t a lot of exact measurements (a handful IS a measurement from an Italian Aunt.) Just go with it-I promise! It is important to season the sauce at every step. It’s as authentic as you will ever get and its delicious. It will be the only sauce recipe you need!
Make the Meatballs
I bake my meatballs instead of frying them because not only are they healthier, I find that they stay together better
I made Organic Rigatoni with the sauce because this shape pasta holds the sauce really well! Feel free to use whatever pasta you like. For low carb, pasta alternative options, check out my favorites Here
We may not have weekly Sunday dinners anymore, but at least I can carry on and share the food traditions and pass them down to my daughter.
What are your family’s traditional recipes?