Sicilian meatballs and pasta sauce

    4 hours 45 min

    Mamma Mía! Beef brisket and Pecorino cheese meatballs simmered in a rich sausage, brisket, red wine and tomato sauce with layers of flavour added by pork neck bones, spices and herbs. Make with robust red wine and serve over your favourite cooked pasta. Makes a wonderful pizza sauce, as well! A Sicilian family secret is out with this recipe - so manga (and sshhh)!

    32 people made this

    Serves: 24 

    • Meatballs
    • 450g beef brisket, chopped
    • 2 eggs
    • 3 slices white bread
    • 4 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
    • 1 pinch dried parsley
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Sauce
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4 onions, chopped
    • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1.1kg Italian sausage, casings removed
    • 675g cubed beef brisket
    • 225g pork neck bones
    • 675g tomato purée
    • 2.3kg passata
    • 120ml red wine
    • 4 bay leaves
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1.3kg dry pasta

    Prep:45min  ›  Cook:4hr  ›  Ready in:4hr45min 

      To make meatballs:

    1. In a medium bowl combine chopped brisket, eggs, bread, Pecorino Romano cheese, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Form meatballs; place into freezer to firm up.
    2. To make sauce:

    3. In a large frying pan over medium heat, brown cubed brisket and pork neck bones; reserve.
    4. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic; fry sausage.
    5. Turn heat down to low. Add tomato purée; stir and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the browned cubed brisket and pork, crushed tomatoes, red wine, bay leaves, cinnamon, parsley, basil and salt and pepper to taste; stir.
    6. In a large frying pan over medium heat, brown meatballs; reserve.
    7. Simmer sauce over low heat for 3 to 4 hours. Add meatballs and simmer for 1 hour. Remove neck bones.
    8. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Cover pasta with sauce and meatballs, serve.

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    Reviews in English (32)


    I have always considered myself an excellent saucemaker. However, I made this sauce for my Sicilian husband and he absolutely loved it! I used a little more red wine than called for to get a little different flavor. I also made it a meat sauce instead of making meatballs. I added ground beef AND ground pork to the recipe, instead of the brisket. Unbelievable! The flavor of the sauce really stuck to the pasta (I used rigatoni), and the aroma throughout the house was great. People could smell it from outside. Obviously, I can't say enough. One of the best I've ever had!  -  14 Nov 2002  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    This was amazing - the whole family felt like we were eating at a fine Italian restaurant. This recipe is not difficult and is SURE to impress others. My kids keep telling me how great it was. I don't understand how another reviewer had ingredients left over (?) she must have skipped a step because everything is used and the instructions are very descriptive.  -  30 May 2004  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    If you are looking for a great tasting hearty meat sauce, then you have definitely found it. This sauce is easy to make and full of flavor...don't leave out the pork neck bones. Excellent! Mr Gerry...thank you for sharing this one!  -  03 Apr 2001  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)