Posted: 2012/02/04 in Uncategorized

This is known to non-Italians as tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce. The permutations are endless. In my family a pot large enough to wash the dog in was kept simmering night and day on the back burner. Whole chickens and hard boiled eggs were betimes dropped in. To be fished out later for a snack or base for Cacciatore or something. There was always a fresh loaf of Italian bread near the pot. So you could tear off a chunk and dunk it in the sauce.  Kind of like the potato chip of Italians. You don’t believe me? Watch an Old Italian dunk his bread in a glass of wine while waiting for his dinner. No real Italian can pass a pot of sugo on the stove and not dunk bread. It’s more reliable than a DNA test.


1/2 pound mild Italian bulk sausage

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce

2 (6-ounce) can Italian-style tomato paste

1 Large can of chopped black olives (this is my personal favorite)

3 cups water

1/4 cup sugar (use this judiciously – add a bit at a time as the sauce cooks according to your taste)

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley

1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil

1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano

(All herbs are best fresh but sure go ahead if you only have dried…)


Cook sausage and ground beef in a large skillet (I’d include Dutch Oven but who has those really) over medium heat 6 minutes, stirring until meat crumbles. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 4 minutes or until beef and sausage are no longer pink. Drain fat and set aside. Get out your largest pot and combine all the ingredients, cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens.  I do this on a low flame for hours and hours until I think it looks thick enough. REMEMBER to keep tasting this sauce and adjusting for your personal tastes. The sugar relieves the acidity of the tomatoes but too sugary and it’s icky. And you can add stuff like sliced mushrooms, truffles, chopped tomatoes, more garlic. I have an auntie who drops a bit of butter in to make the sauce silky.

So try the sauce – make it your own and serve over your favorite pasta. A tip on cooking pasta: Use a large enough pot – don’t cramp your noodles; NEVER add olive oil to the boiling water in an effort to prevent sticky noodles – this just ensures your sauce will slide right off those same noodles; and this is super important never ever wash the drained noodles in cold water. Also about the cheese, Parmesan or Romano…fresh shaved is best but otherwise if you get the shaker try to get one without fillers. Now!  Eat you’re so skinny…..

  1. Baxter Aubin says:

    No frogs, newts, spiders or vermin for that distinctive Diner taste? I might have to start eating there more often. 🙂

    BTW, will you be publishing the super secret Diner donut recipe?

  2. No! Afraid the Donuts recipe HAS to stay proprietary. A girl needs something to fall back on in hard times. But stop in and tip heavily!

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