Recipe By NicoleMcmom
Published Nov 23rd
Prep 20m Cook 4h 40m Additional - Ready In 5h
Servings 12 servings Calories 569.4

Start this sauce on Sunday morning and fill your kitchen with amazing aromas that will have your family asking when dinner’s going to be ready! It’s full of rich, sweet tomato flavor, subtle herbs, and savory, tender meat that’s cooked right in the sauce. Ladle it over your favorite pasta and serve with buttery garlic bread.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 pounds pork neck bones
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 ¼ pounds Italian sausage links
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (12 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 12 large cooked meatballs

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 Sprinkle neck bones on all sides with salt and pepper.
  2. 2 Heat 4 teaspoons oil in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Place neck bones in the pot and cook for 6 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer to a plate.
  3. 3 Add sausage links to the drippings and brown for 3 minutes on each side, adding remaining oil as needed. Set aside with the pork.
  4. 4 Add onion to the drippings and season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. 
  5. 5 Add tomato puree and crushed tomatoes, than add water and sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until smooth. Add bay leaf. Rub basil and oregano between your fingers to release the aroma and add to the sauce.
  6. 6 Slice sausages into large chunks and return to the pot with the neck bones; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Add meatballs, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 6 hours. 
  7. 7 Remove neck bones and bay leaf. Remove any meat remaining on the bones, shred, and return to the sauce.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 569.4
  • Carbohydrate 28.5 g
  • Cholesterol 144.6 mg
  • Fat 32.3 g
  • Fiber 5.5 g
  • Protein 42.8 g
  • Saturated Fat 10.8 g
  • Sodium 2035 mg

Chef's Notes

For homemade meatballs, try my Best Easy Meatballs!; Neck bones are available at many grocery stores. If you can't find them, country-style ribs would be a good substitute.


  1. So delicious!
  2. Easy to make and delicious!! I served it over fried polenta. My husband said it was just like the sauce he had in Italy.
  3. Nicole, I LOVE your videos! I made this for my family for the first time today! My Italian husband said, “I feel Italian again. Make this every Sunday.” And I’m going to! I made your meatballs, as well! Love all of it!

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