Melissa Jo’s Pepperoni Sauce

Looking for a hearty and flavorful dish to impress your guests? Look no further! Melissa Jo Recipes brings you a tantalizing recipe for country-style pork ribs in a homemade tomato sauce. This Italian-inspired dish is bursting with savory flavors and tender meat that will make any mealtime unforgettable. Follow these simple steps to create a sauce that will have everyone asking for seconds.


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Pepperoni Sauce

Melissa Jo


  • 3-4 country-style pork ribs bone-in or boneless
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small Vidalia onion chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 7 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian fresh parsley
  • 6 ounces red wine
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 28 ounces whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 28 ounces all-purpose crushed tomatoes
  • 12 ounces Passata
  • Water use the passata bottle, fill it and shake to incorporate
  • 6.5 ounces pepperoni sliced
  • 2- ounce hunk of Pecorino Romano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • Your favorite pasta
  • Butter for the pasta
  • Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish


  • Season the pork ribs: Sprinkle the country-style pork ribs with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Ensure the ribs are evenly coated with the seasonings.
  • Brown the pork ribs: In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the seasoned pork ribs and brown them on each side until they develop a golden crust. Remove the ribs from the pot and set them aside on a plate.
  • Saute the onions and spices: In the same pot, sauté the chopped Vidalia onion until it turns golden. Add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning blend, and 1 tablespoon of dried basil. Stir and cook until fragrant.
  • Add garlic and parsley: Stir in 7 cloves of chopped garlic and 1/4 cup of chopped Italian fresh parsley. Cook for a minute or two until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  • Deglaze with red wine: Pour in 6 ounces of red wine and allow it to simmer for a few minutes, letting the alcohol burn off.
  • Incorporate tomato paste: Add 3 ounces of tomato paste to the red wine sauce and cook until the paste turns a deep reddish-brown color.
  • Reintroduce the pork ribs: Return the browned pork ribs to the pot, along with any juices accumulated on the plate.
  • Crushed tomatoes and passata: Pour in one 28-ounce can of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes (crushed by hand), one 28-ounce can of all-purpose crushed tomatoes, and 12 ounces of passata. Fill the empty passata bottle with water, give it a good shake, and pour the water into the pot.
  • Bring to a boil: Stir the sauce well and bring it to a boil.
  • Add remaining ingredients: Add 6.5 ounces of sliced pepperoni, a 2-ounce hunk of Pecorino Romano, 2 bay leaves, and a handful of fresh basil to the sauce pot. Stir gently to combine.
  • Simmer and cook: Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot halfway with a lid, and simmer the sauce for 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and adjust the heat as needed. Remember to layer your seasonings, taste your sauce and add more seasonings as needed.
  • Prepare the pasta: Cook your favorite pasta according to the package instructions. Before adding the sauce, toss the cooked pasta with butter for added richness.
  • Serve and enjoy: Once the sauce has thickened and the pork ribs are tender, serve the sauce over the buttered pasta. Garnish with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, and savor the exquisite flavors of this delicious dish.


  • For extra tenderness, marinate the pork ribs in the seasonings overnight in the refrigerator before browning them.
  • If you prefer a spicier sauce, increase the amount of crushed red pepper to suit your taste.
  • Use high-quality San Marzano tomatoes for a rich and authentic flavor.
  • Don’t skip the step of browning the tomato paste. It adds depth and complexity to the sauce.
  • Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices to customize the sauce to your liking.
  • If you have the time, let the sauce simmer for even longer to enhance the flavors and achieve a thicker consistency.
  • Leftover sauce can be refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for future use.
  • Remember to layer your seasonings, taste your sauce and add more seasonings as needed.
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