Rule #132: Don’t mess with Nonna’s kitchen.
I’d like to think that one day, I’ll be a wise old Grandma who doesn’t take any lip off of anyone, can cook like the devil, and can hug you hard enough to make all your worries disappear. All the stories I’ve ever heard of Italian grandmas (aka Nonnas) has made me feel like maybe I’ve got a little sassy Italiana in me somewhere. They live for their families, cook meals to feed small armies, and protect their kitchens (and recipes) with their lives. This recipe is one of those Italian family gems I’ve tweaked a bit to go in the slow cooker. Sunday Sauce is basically a combination of pot roast + spaghetti bolognese. What could be more Italian grandma than that?
To take it to a whole notha level: this bad boy is a slow cooker recipe. Throw it all in the pot, crank ‘er up, and you’ve got home cooked Italian comfort food in a matter of hours.
There’s a little Italian turkey sausage you’ve got to brown before throwing it into the slow cooker, but you can always brown that the night before. Just store it in the fridge and throw it in the next morning. Chopping the veggies + pancetta the night before makes it easier to add to the pot when you’re ready, too.
Don’t skimp on the Parm + the basil, y’all. Nonna says that’s a “No, No.” She’s even shaking her finger at you.
Depending on your mood, you can serve this Sunday Sauce with good ole spaghetti or with some sautéed zoodles. Nonna said that was okay.
The leftovers hold up very well in the freezer. Just store in airtight containers or Ziplocs, thaw in the fridge overnight, and heat up the next day.
Slow Cooker Sunday Sauce
2 hot Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
10 baby carrots, chopped
3 oz. pancetta, chopped
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed with your fingers
3-4 lb. trimmed Boston butt roast (pork shoulder)
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Cabernet (or other dry red wine)
28-oz. can whole tomatoes, undrained
24-oz. tomato puree
1/2 cup water
Freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish
Basil, julienned, for garnish
Option A: Prep the night before. Chop all of your veggies (onion, garlic, carrots) and pancetta. Store mixed together in a covered container in the fridge overnight. Store the browned sausage in a separate container until the morning.
Option B: Do it all that morning.
Brown the sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat. Remove from skillet and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Place all ingredients (minus Parmesan and basil) in a large slow cooker or Crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 9 hours. Turn the heat to low, shred pork, and cook an additional 30 minutes.
Serve with spaghetti or zoodles. Garnish with Parmesan and basil.