That's the style I ate in Italian houses,sauce on the pasta for starter,then the meat as the main with greens & potato. Bit of a lucky dip as to what you pulled out of the pot but it would be a cheaper cut. It's real cookery ,little old nonna's in my 'hood cranking it out every day.
Yep...it's my grandma's and mom's "Sunday/holiday gravy" that I'm always trying to replicate. Like you said... Whatever was cheap at the time.. Neck bones, ribs, chuck, hot and sweet sausage meatballs,sometimes lamb stew meat. It changed each time but still had that rich meaty flavor that was so familiar. Never any kind of poultry though. Never thought to ask them about that. Reminds me of my childhood and now that I do most of the cooking for family holidays I'll make it sometimes and sometimes just when friends are family are coming over. We usually go pasta and meat all together but when I was a kid at grandma's, I remember the meat being another course like you mentioned.