Almost everyone loves pasta and Italian food. If you are Italian or know Italians, they claim to have the ‘best sauce’ ever. The reason for this is lies with their Mom or Nana. Chances are they learned from one another and the best ingredient in the best sauce are the hands that made them. We all gravitate to certain tastes in foods, and even more so in ethnic families.
What you’ve eaten all your life is delicious, comforting and ‘the best’ ever, no one’s sauce comes close, even good Italian restaurants. Anthony’s mother, down the street may make her sauce quite differently, and yes, to Anthony, hers is the ‘best sauce’ ever. Some Italians call spaghetti sauce, ‘gravy’.
Nana Coppola made wonderful Italian recipes; she even taught cooking class at the parochial school. Her daughters try to emulate the ‘best sauce ever’ and their sauces are very similar and delicious. It is never exactly like Nana’s, but what is missing are the hands, love and memories that she put into it. So, in her memory, here is Nana’s recipe for the best sauce ever.
1 pound of chopped sirloin* (*for variety, add pork chops, sausage or spare ribs)
Couple of cloves of chopped garlic
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
1 tsp. of fresh parsley or parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup flavored bread crumbs
3 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Put above ingredients in bowl and mix well. Shape into meat balls. Cook in small amount of olive oil until well browned; place in large sauce pan or pot. Set aside.
In a large pot, add the next ingredients to the. browned meatballs and/or sausage:
1/2 small can of tomato paste. Stir and add 1/2 Cup of water.
2 large cans of tomato sauce (two 28 oz. crushed or whole tomatoes) – Italian brands preferred.
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes and/or basil leaf
1/4 teaspoon sugar**
salt and pepper as desired
Cover and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Stir occasionally.
Prepare favorite pasta. Drain pasta and serve with sauce topped with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.
New generations ‘tweak’ everything and here are some added suggestions:
1) *For healthy low-fat dieters, drain any excess fat from the meatball pan before adding tomaoes. If sausage is to be added, simmer the sausage prior for 10-15 minutes to rid of excess fat and then brown with the meatballs.
2) **In lieu of sugar added to the sauce, you can add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of red or white wine; this helps reduce acidity and helped prevent reflux.
3) For additional treat taste when serving, add a dollop of freshly made Sicilian ricotta cheese to the finished pasta when serving. See my home-made ricotta cheese recipe: http://expertistas.com/2012/11/19/how-to-make-home-made-delicious-ricotta-cheese/aboutme
Yums. Can you smell it? It flavors the whole house!
©Marie Coppola July 2013