Growing up, I was taught to never waste anything, and it’s the same in a professional kitchen. Sunday gravy is the adult version of my mom’s spaghetti sauce with hamburger meat and can be made with anything—a few sausage links, meatballs, or tender meat scraps to impart flavor. I think that’s why I like it so much. It’s like the Italian BBQ hash.
I never toasted my spaghetti sandwiches as a kid, but I encourage you to build a worthwhile sandwich that honors the work of meatball prep and the hours of simmering needed for the Sunday gravy. Garlic-butter toasted bread layered with meatballs, spaghetti, and cubes of cheddar cheese is the move.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Add saltines, dry spices, and heavy cream in a large bowl and incorporate well. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, so the saltines soak up the cream. Add eggs to saltine mixture and beat for 2 minutes. Add the ground beef, cheese, and fresh herbs. Mix until well blended but do not overwork. Roll mixture into golf-ball-size meatballs and place onto a lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes on high fan. Let cool and reserve the meatball fat.
- In a large stockpot, sauté onion, garlic, red pepper, seasoned ground beef, and pork tenderloin in a large pot with olive oil and reserved meatball fat, until onions are soft and the meat is brown. Add bay leaves and red wine, then reduce wine by half. Next, add pork stock, crushed tomatoes, sausage links, pork barbecue, brown sugar, salt, and Parmesan. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Check for seasoning and carefully add the meatballs. Simmer, uncovered, for at least another hour, stirring occasionally. Make sure the sauce isn't sticking to bottom of pot, but be careful not to disturb the meatballs too much. The longer you simmer the Sunday gravy, the better, and the softer the meatballs will become. Some will break, but that will only add to the depth of the sauce.
- Cook spaghetti noodles until they are just a little overcooked (just like Mom made), drain, then mix with Sunday gravy to your preferred noodle-to-sauce ratio and enjoy with your favorite cheese.
- The next day—always the next day—warm the spaghetti and serve on white bread, buttered white bread, or garlic-butter toasted white bread, and always add more cheese. Enjoy spaghetti sandwiches the next day and the day after.