• 2.5 lb oxtail, cut into pieces
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lbs pork sausage links
  • 2 white onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock (note: try out our homemade bone broth for this)
  • 2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh basil
  • 1 lb pasta of choice
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Place a Dutch oven (or an ovenproof heavy stockpot) over medium-high heat and add olive oil.
  3. Season the oxtail with salt and pepper and add to the hot oil (along with the neck bones, if using).
  4. Brown the oxtail all over, then remove to a plate. Add the sausages to the Dutch Oven and brown completely. Remove to the plate.
  5. Reduce heat to medium, and add the chopped onions to the Dutch oven along with a pinch of salt.
  6. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute before adding the tomato paste, oregano and pepper flakes. Cook until the tomato paste takes on a darker, red-brown hue, about 4 minutes.
  7. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, stirring well to pick up any stuck-on bits, and then reduce by half, about 10 minutes.
  8. After the wine has reduced, add the chicken stock, tomatoes and bay leaves.
  9. Technically, you should wrap the herb springs in cheesecloth for a bouquet garni, but I just remove from the sprigs and add directly to the stock.
  10. Return the oxtail to the Dutch oven, season to taste with salt and pepper, and then bring the whole thing to a boil.
  11. Cover with lid and place the Dutch oven in the oven for 2.5 hours, then add the sausages and return to the oven for another 30 minutes. (See recipe note for stove top directions.)
  12. Prepare the pasta according to package directions, and then serve with a generous topping of the Sunday Gravy and a hefty grating of Parmesan.


Note: Bourdain’s original recipe called for 2-3 pounds of pork neck bones, but to keep the cost of this recipe reasonable I have omitted them. If you want to add them, just add them with the oxtail and follow the same instructions.

Instead of cooking in the oven, you can alternatively cook covered at medium-low heat for 5-6 hours on the stove. The meat should be fall-apart tender.