Italian-American Recipes to Make for Sunday Supper
These red sauce recipes, from pasta with (vegetarian) meatballs to beef braciola, will have your family hurrying to the table any night of the week.
In Italian-American households across the country, Sundays culminate in platters of pasta, cutlets covered in bubbly cheese, and rich, meaty mains—all bound by a mother tomato sauce and lots of love. Try our fresh spins on classic recipes, and your family will hurry home for supper any night of the week.
The starting point for these mouthwatering recipes is our All-Purpose Red Sauce. As it's name suggests, it's a versatile marinara that plays well with meatballs and pasta and could also top pizza. We're sure you'll find myriad other uses for this soon-to-be back pocket recipe.
Gather the family (or famiglia!) for a big beefy dinner of braciola. Braciola can come from a few different cuts, often its top or bottom round or rump. Most stores sell it already thinly sliced, and sometimes pounded. You'll fill the slices with a zesty stuffing of olives and raisins and cook them in our mother sauce, enhanced with red wine and broth.
The red sauce also stars in our revelatory take on spaghetti and meatballs. No ground chuck here! These balls are made with eggplant and white beans. Thin pork cutlets are breaded and fried for a tasty new take on the classic cutlet Parmesan. They're topped with red sauce and mozzarella before a quick turn under the broiler.
A few of our inspired takes on classic Italian-American recipes don't use the All-Purpose Red Sauce. There's a quicker, lighter version of the classic beef and pork Bolognese sauce. It subs in ground turkey and mushrooms for a substantial sauce that doesn't need to simmer on the stove for hours like Nonna's recipe. Our lightest and fastest dinner recipe is a creamy but creamless take on shrimp Alfredo with fettucine made with a clever technique that makes the most of pasta water. There's no tomato in Chicken Scarpiello, a chicken stew that's made with sweet Italian sausage and pickled peppers. It's a dish that deserves more attention. When you make it, the aroma will have everyone gathering in the kitchen ready to eat.
Recipes and food styling by Greg Lofts. Prop styling by Tanya Graff.
Beef Braciole with Olives and Raisins
This delicious take on another Italian-American classic features slices of pounded beef wrapped around a powerhouse filling of pimiento‐stuffed olives, raisins, and Parmigiano‐Reggiano to form several individual rolls instead of one centerpiece roast. The beef gets tender while the sauce intensifies while the dish braises in the oven. Serve over polenta or mashed potatoes or with plenty of crusty bread to sop it all up.
Spaghetti and Eggplant "Meatballs"
Sure, you're familiar with veal Parmesan, maybe you've also enjoyed chicken Parmesan? Well, get ready to love this pork parm. The base is pork tenderloin, sliced into medallions and pounded thin so it cooks in a flash. A triple dip into flour, then egg, then panko, makes a coating that stays crisp even after it cools (a rack ensures 360‐degree crunch). Top with a spoonful or two of red sauce and mozzarella—and broil until the cheese melts.
Turkey and Mushroom Bolognese
Bolognese is often made with beef and pork, and the traditional recipe cooks for ages. This lighter, quicker version—a mix of ground turkey and chopped mushrooms, bumped up with morsels of pancetta—just tastes like it did. Sautéed carrots and onion provide sweetness, and tomato paste adds instant depth (after all, tomato paste is tomatoes that have simmered for hours). The clincher? Turkey is actually juicier and tastier with only a brief simmer, so this is a win‐win din.
Restaurants rarely serve this homey chicken‐and‐sausage dish, but every Italian‐American family has its own riff: Some add sweet peppers, others white wine. Flour dusted on the chicken thighs helps them brown; it forms a nice crust and also thickens the sauce at the end. Braised in a broth amped with rosemary, shallots, and pickled peppers (plus a splash of brine), the meats get super‐tender—and the aroma is sublime.
Cream-Free Shrimp Alfredo
Per Italian lore, the original fettuccine Alfredo was a kid‐friendly blend of buttered pasta tossed with Parmesan. Over generations in America, it became rich and heavy with cream (some versions even use cream cheese). In our hybrid, butter, cheese, and an egg yolk are slowly whisked into pasta water to create a luscious sauce. Tossed with seared shrimp, peas, and pasta, it'll enchant adults and bambini alike.