The Godfather's Sunday Gravy Recipe: How to Make Clemenza's Spaghetti Sauce by Donna John

The Godfather's Sunday Gravy Recipe: How to Make Clemenza's Spaghetti Sauce

My husband has watched "The Godfather" more times than I can count. He knows every line and every scene. Besides the famous horse head scene, one that sticks out to me is Clemenza making Sunday gravy for the family.

After adding a can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce to the pot, Clemenza says, "You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it. Ya make sure it doesn’t stick. You get it to a boil. You shove in all your sausage and your meatballs. And a little bit of wine. And a little bit of sugar, and that’s my trick."

This is a version of Clemenza's spaghetti sauce that is popular all over the internet. Until we can crack the secret recipe, this rich Italian tomato sauce recipe will have to do. It's delicious and the perfect sauce for pasta, pasta casseroles, lasagna or your favorite pasta dish. Serve it for dinner or that famous Sunday supper.

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Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 30 minutes (includes time to cook the meats)
Cook Time: 30 minutes to 8 hours
Total Time: 1 to 8 hours
Servings: 10


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Recipes Notes

  • Sunday gravies are typically simmered for hours on the stovetop. In the movie the sauce is not simmered all day in the scene, so simmer for as long as you have time for (or want). If you chose to do a long simmer, add the meat later so the sauce doesn't dry out.
  • None of the recipes I found called for fresh basil or other Italian herbs. You could definitely add some in or add some dried Italian seasoning.
  • Store any leftover sauce in airtight containers in the fridge.

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil. When hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 30 seconds (do not burn). 
  2. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. 
  3. Add the meatballs, Italian sausage, splash of red wine and sugar. Stir. Simmer for as long as desired, from 30 minutes to 8 hours (see Recipe Notes).

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 266

Total Fat: 23.1g

Saturated Fat: 4.2g

Cholesterol: 13mg

Sodium: 189mg

Total Carbohydrate: 12.6g

Dietary Fiber: 1.2g

Total Sugars: 4.7g

Protein: 5.7g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 43mg

Iron: 1mg

Potassium: 268mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Elisa Schmitz
So fun, Donna John ! And delicious, too. Now I need to watch The Godfather again before making this, ha!

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