Four Meat Italian Gravy {& a Giveaway}

 Four Meat Italian Gravy

Last year I had my hands full with a new baby. My mom arrived the night that Autumn was born and stayed for a few weeks. She helped out immensely with tons of every day things that suddenly feels so  overwhelming. Oh, so much laundry. Plus, she became my chauffeur as I couldn’t drive after my C-section. Oh moms.

And then my dad came for a visit. He helped out by stocking our fridge and freezer with so much good food. One of the things that he made was a big batch of meaty marinara sauce. As I was happily distracted with my sweet little bean, I didn’t pay too much attention to him making it. I did pay attention to how damn good it was. It was flavorful, rich, and nicely filling. Perfect for having the energy to stay up late with a cuddily sweetie. Or just for lounging around watching a movie or football. Whatever gets you through your day!

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As the days get colder and the dark creeps in sooner, I gravitate towards meals like this. So I was recently thinking about that batch of Italian gravy that my dad made. Just when I was going to email him to ask him about it, Price picked out this Four Meat Italian Gravy. It sounded and looked familiar to what my dad made so I figured I’d give it a try to see how it compared.

Thankfully it did not disappoint. I now have a fantastic recipe for a flavorful meat packed sauce that I can whip up myself on a Sunday afternoon to best “Celebrate the Sauce.” I won’t have to wait until my dad comes up for another visit. And since he had to fly in 2 different snow storms last year, I didn’t think think he will be making another trip this winter. I’ll see that snowbird in the summer.

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Since I’ve mentioned before that we have been attempting to cut the carbs and eat more paleo meals, maybe you’re wondering why I just posted a recipe that goes hand in hand with pasta? Well, I have a nifty Spiralizer that we put to good use so often that putting it away seems silly since it gets pulled out of the hutch so often. Anyway, gotta keep the counters clean. Or attempt to.

I’ve been swapping out pasta for healthier veggie ‘noodles’ by using the Spiralizer . We used butternut squash noodles when we enjoyed this gravy as I feel that they hold up well to hearty sauces, at least a bit better than when using zucchini noodles. Basically use what you want… pasta, gluten free pasta, pollenta, veggie noodles, whatever… just make it.

Plus, the Tuttorosso tomatoes that I used were sugar and salt free. Tuttorosso is a cherished 85-year-old tomato brand that has now developed salt free products. This helps everyone better maintain their sodium intake. Plus, having sugar free products makes for healthier eating all around. That means it’s Paleo and Whole 30 complaint. With some subtle changes, like using a compliant sausage and not putting bread crumbs in the meatballs, the resulting gravy would be great paleo and whole 30 recipes in your arsenal.

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And brown the freaking meats! It makes such a big difference when you do that compared to just putting the meat in the pot at the same time as the rest of the ingredients.

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And get that tomato paste all toasty. It helps get rid of the raw flavor and develop that nice toasty umami flavor.

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The original recipe calls for everything to be cooked in a large dutch oven, which you put into the oven. Here’s the thing, I don’t have a dutch oven that is large enough. I have 2 covered casserole/pot things that could have potentially worked but neither large enough, so then I’d have 2 use both and that equals more dishes… uh no. And then I have a monsterious covered pot, but even after googling, I couldn’t figured out if it was oven safe. So I decided to just used that and cook the sauce on the stovetop. No harm, no fail. It worked out perectly. Just a heads up, you can do this recipe ON or IN the oven. Whatever works for you.

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I also deviated from the original recipe in that I just used the whole can of tomato paste and can of beef broth mainly because I knew I wouldn’t use the remaining portions of the cans. Kinda a lazy approach but it worked out perfectly in the end as the paste thickened the extra beef broth and they both packed a a rich extra flavor kick.

Basically, just make this gravy. It’s stick to your ribs good and you’ll need plenty of those hearty meals this upcoming winter. I’m sure you’ll love it. Shoot even my 1 year old could not get enough of it. She ate so much and then attacked the rib bones. Proud mama moment right there!

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Four Meat Italian Gravy

Makes 12 servings



  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ribs to brown the sides, remove to plate. Repeat with the stew meat and then the sausage.
  2. Add the chopped onion and oregano to the pot and cook for 5 minutes; stir and scrape the drippings from the bottom of pan.
  3. Next add the tomato paste and stir until it darkens; be sure not to burn. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, just till fragrant,; again take care not to burn.
  4. Crush the peeled plum tomatoes with your hands before adding to the pot, along with the juice. Lastly add crushed tomatoes with basil, beef broth, salt and black pepper.
  5. Add the browned meats, with juices, back to sauce; bring to a simmer. Place cover and cook over low heat for 2 1/2 -3 hours. Meantime make your favorite meatball recipe if using homemade meatballs, or use pre-made meatballs.
  6. Remove the ribs from the sauce and remove the meat from the bones, shred with a fork. Skim off any excess fat from the sauce.  Return the shredded meat to the sauce. Nestle the meatballs into sauce and cook for another 15 minutes.
  7. Serve with pasta and freshly grated cheese.

Adapted from Tuttorosso

This post is sponsored by Tuttorosso. I received product from Tuttorosso to make a recipe of my choosing. All opinions are my own.


And now the GIVEAWAY!!

You can win a Tuttorosso gift pack that contains a variety of Tuttorosso products (perfect for you to create the recipe yourself!), an apron, a wooden spoon (which are best for sauces) and recipes that can help you “Celebrate the Sauce.”

*You just have to leave a comment by 12/10/14 at midnight. Write whatever you want. Simple as that!


Post contains affiliate links.


Meatball Sliders

Meatball Sliders

We made these irresistible Ham and Cheese Sliders yet again when we watched the Super Bowl. These are one of our favorite things to eat. Super simple and super good. What’s better than a warm mini sandwich with some ooey gooey cheese topping off some meat? I think it’s just the perfect kind of snack for for watching sports or serving at a party or even for dinner. So what did I decide to do?

Make more sliders for dinner recently that involved yummy flavorful meat covered in ooey gooey cheese.

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Yep! This time I made Meatball Sliders. Meatball Subs are great but there is just something cute about having the meatballs served in sliders. Well, I don’t know if cute is the right word, but definitely fun to eat this way.

My dad was up in December for a visit to meet Autumn and help us out by stocking up our freezer with some of our favorite dinners. Of course Mr. I-talian made amazing meatballs and marinara sauce. That big batch is long gone now but I have been thinking about making more recently but haven’t found time. Instead of making a big batch of meatballs and sauce I decided to change it up and make some meatballs for these sliders.

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I love meatballs any time but these ended up being such a good dinner as they are a great warm up food. I just love an excuse to turn on the oven after being on a cold bus. Totally helps takes the chill away in me and the house. 🙂

These meatball sliders are perfect for any occasion as they are quick to whip up and a crowd pleaser.

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Meatball Sliders

Makes 12 Sliders


  • 1 1/2- 2 lbs of ground beef, 85%/15% is suggested
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Italian Style breadcrumbs
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 heaping tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 24 oz jar of tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 12 dinner rolls


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine the ground beef, beaten eggs, breadcrumbs, diced onion, parsley, and seasonings together in a large bowl.
  3. Form 12 equal sized meatballs.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, brown the meatballs, in batches. Once the meatballs are browned on all sides, place in an oven safe baking dish.
  5. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
  6. Bake the meatballs for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and add the shredded cheese to the top of the meatballs and place under the broiler until the cheese is completely melted.
  7. Split the rolls and place 1 cheese covered meatball in each roll to serve.

Sausage Meatball Subs

I’m all about the best of both worlds thing when it comes to food. I love the combination of things and how that enhances the meal from donut muffinsOreo chocolate chip cookies, to this. The combination of a meatball and sausage sub satusfies my love of meatball subs, while getting spice and flavor from sausage.

When I was younger, I never was a huge fan of Italian sausage (get your mind out of the gutter!). I didn’t think that Sweet Italian sausage had much flavor, and while I liked the spice from Hot Italian Sausage I could not get past all that damn fennel seed. I have slowly come around to it. Mainly because I typically have it grilled or cooked in beer, loaded up with peppers and onions with spicy mustard.

While you can use Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage, I really suggest using the Hot variety because it will be able to stand up against the plain ground beef.  If you happen to like sweet sausage you might want to make it 1 pound to be even with the ground beef. The only thing I suggest adding to the meat mixture is a grated onion, to add some flavor and moisture. Anything else, besides salt and pepper, would compete with the seasoned sausage.

Sausage Meatball Subs

makes 4 subs

1 pound of ground beef (80/20)
3/4 pound of Italian Sausage (I suggest Hot)
1 small white onion, grated
4 small sub rolls or 2 large loaves, halved
8 slices of provolone cheese
generous drizzle of olive oil
2 cups of marinara sauce


Preheat oven to 400, drizzle bread with olive oil and toast bread until light brown, add cheese for last remaining few minutes to melt.

While the bread is toasting,  remove Sausage from casing to prep it for being incorporated into the ground beef.

In a large bowl, combine a grated onion, beef, and sausage.

Roll 20 meatballs out.

Cook meatballs in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Evenly roll and brown on all sides while cooking.

Once meatballs are all evenly browned and almost done, add in 2 cups of marinara sauce. This will heat up the marinara and finish off the meatballs while they simmer in the sauce.

Assemble the sub with 5 meatballs each and enjoy!

Living up to my ridiculously Italian last name without being called ‘Snookie’

So I can’t pretend for a second that I am not Italian when I have a last name a rich as mine. My dad even likes to argue his belief that Spasiano is derived from Vespasianus… you know the emperor who commissioned the Flavian Amphitheatre aka The Colosseum. Yeah, that amphitheatre.

I don’t speak Italian (except for a few bad words and my favorite, stunad!, which means stupid) but I sure like Italian food. Who doesn’t?  Please, please don’t tell me you like the Olive Garden….

Well what is one crazy Italian do on New Years Day? Simple:

Make 16 quarts of marinara sauce with 3.5 pounds of meatballs.


Marinara Sauce included:

Sauce: 4- 29 oz cans

Whole Tomatoes: 5- 28 oz cans

Crushed Tomatoes: 1- 28 oz can

Diced Tomatoes: 4-14.5 oz cans

Tomato Paste: 1-18 oz can

3 chopped onions

 5 tablespoons of diced garlic

extra virgin olive, crushed red pepper flake, salt and pepper


Meatballs included:

3.5 pounds of ground beef (80% lean)

4 eggs

1 diced onion

flat leaf parsley (a lot)

bread crumbs (maybe 2 cups?)

grated cheese

crushed red pepper flake, salt and pepper



Needless to say, but our freezer is completely full.


Porcupine Meatballs

I had a craving for porcupine meatballs on Wednesday night. Luckily, my dad wrote down this recipe along with other family ones a few years ago that I turn to every now and then. There are only 6 ingredients, including water, so I went to the grocery store on my way home from class and grabbed the 3 that I needed.

Porcupine Meatballs is a simple meal made of meatball filled with rice- making it spiky- and served with gravy over noodles. Simply put it’s an  inexpensive meal and easy to make. Plus there is a good chance you already have most of the ingredients in your cabinets like me. You can do this with beef but we try to keep it lean so we use turkey. If you use beef then adjust the gravy and rice-a-roni to match the beef flavor. This is so comforting because it is warm and filling- a real autumn/winter food. I made large meatballs to get cooking faster (too tired after a 3 hour class) but you really should make smaller meatballs. This allows the meatballs to cook faster and the rice cooks better when they are smaller.

Porcupine Meatballs

1 lb of ground turkey
1 box of rice-a-roni (I used chicken flavor)
1 egg
2 cups of water
1 lb of wide egg noodles
1 family size jar of turkey gravy

Start water on high heat to cook egg noodles until al dente.

Combine the ground turkey, rice-a-roni (including seasoning packet), and egg. Form into small meatballs (1 1/2 dia).

Brown meatballs in a skillet with oil. (You can drain off oil/fat, if you prefer). If the skillet gets too busy with the meatballs you can remove some to get enough room to brown all of them. Once all meatballs are browned, reduce heat to med/low and add 2 cups of water. Cook for 20 minutes. If the water begins to reduce too much, add a bit. When the meatballs have i a few minutes left add in the gravy.

Serve the meatballs with the egg noodles. Enjoy 🙂