Go Back
+ servings

Sunday Pasta, or Rigatoni and Sauce Recipe

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs
Servings 8


For the sauce

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 12 ounces or more pepperoni cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 Italian sausage links each link cut into three pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 35- ounce cans whole Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1 6- ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 to 1½ cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

For the meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 2 thick slices of bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper

For the pasta

  • 1 pound Rigatoni
  • 5 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese


  • To make the sauce, heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add pepperoni and sausage; cook until lightly brown. Move meat to one side of the pot. Add onion and garlic in the cleared area, and sauté until tender. Add tomato paste and water. Stir well. Hold a food mill over the pot and puree the whole tomatoes, or put your hand in each can and squeeze until tomatoes are in small pieces. Add bay leaves, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring sauce to a boil; Cover, and reduce heat. Cook on medium-low heat for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Adjust salt as needed.
  • To make the meatballs, cover two slices of thick bread (including the crust) with milk. Let rest until bread is completely tender, about 4-5 minutes. Squeeze bread until moist but not dripping wet. Tear or chop bread into small pieces. In a medium size bowl, add bread pieces and remaining ingredients. Use your hands to mix the ingredients. If mixture seems a little dry, add a couple of tablespoons of milk. Shape meatballs into 2-inch balls.
  • To cook the meatballs, increase heat to medium-high. When the sauce begins to boil, drop in the meatballs one at a time. Do not stir until all meatballs are in the sauce. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • To cook the rigatoni, bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt and Rigatoni. Stir, and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook Rigatoni al dente (about 12-14 minutes). Drain well.
  • To serve, remove the meats from the sauce and place on a serving dish. In a large pasta bowl, mix three or four ladles of sauce with the Rigatoni. Serve extra sauce in a small bowl. Sprinkle pasta with Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!