Sauce Talk 05

More discussions about Italian food and family. Good times at the table and in the kitchen

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BRAVO Anthony!!!!!, I was a bigger hit for Christmas with my family than usual. I used your recipes for meatballs, sauce & braciole. I thought I made a “good” braciole before I tried yours. Now I know, mine was only fair in comparison. I can’t thank you enough for posting your recipes. Thank you, Thank you & Thank you! ~ Corinne B
Corinne, So glad you liked the braciole. I remember my mom and grandma never made quite enough Braciole and there were always battles over who gets the last one 🙂 I am honored that you think my Braciole is a better recipe. The thing with Braciole is, it’s gets better the longer you cook it. If you make the sauce early on in the day, cook it until it’s done with the meatballs and Braciole, then turn off the pot but just let it sit there for a few hours while everything marinates, then reheat when guests arrive, wow! It all just gets better! ~ Manja!!!!! ~8-) Anthony

Hi Anthony, I am a spaghetti sauce person in progress. I keep trying, note what I did for each attempt, but my Italian friend Jesse makes a great sauce every time, and mine is just… so so. I keep researching and stumbled on your recipe. It makes a lot of sense how you do it! I’m going to give it another try, though now armed with your method. Hope it helps. If not, then maybe I’m just not on this earth yo make a good sauce. Thanks for such great info! ~ Polly
Polly, Well, let’s hope this recipe beats Jesse’s 🙂 If you follow all steps careful you should have a wonderful sauce! Let me know how it all comes out? I’m sure you can make a good sauce. You can do it! 🙂 ~ Ciao, Anthony

Dearest Anthony, Well I just read all your sauce talk info from your sauce pages and it stirs so many memories of Grandma Salerno. I love that you remember her and the love she put into all her meals. How lucky was I and Uncles Johnny & Philip to grow up in that household. It is amazing and my 2 brothers are awesome cooks (Uncle Philip is the BEST). We three remember it all and it is so funny when we call each other to go over a certain item that Grandma made and one of us forgot one ingredient or one step and we all discuss it from our separate recollections. A prime example is pasta with cauliflower, oil and garlic. They three of us LOVE it but we ALL make it just a tiny bit differently. Uncle Philip cooks the cauliflower in water with the green stems FIRST and then puts it into the pasta with a bit of the water it has been cooked (the oil and garlic were cooked separately). I cook my cauliflower in the oil and garlic and Uncle Johnny does it partially both ways. It is such a riot but wonderful fun to share and kibbitz. I must say, that many Italian cooks would be turning in their graves to hear that someone is putting COFFEE in the sauce. Sacrilegious!!!!!!! And she wanted a “burnt” flavor. We were all taught to watch out for the garlic not burning because if it did your sauce would taste burnt and be no good. Bless her little heart. She certainly is entitled to her opinion but I must say NO COFFEE…haha Love, Mom ~ Rae (Anthony’s MoM)
Mom, Glad you enjoy the wonderful Italian cooking discussions I’ve been putting up on the site. It’s such great fun. There are just so many great stories tied into good Italian food. The cooking and the smell, evoke long lost memories that one just has to share! Now in regards to the pasta with cauliflower, I put in the olive oil get it warn, then throw in the chopped garlic, let it simmer until I see the little bubbles around the edges of the garlic then I throw in the cauliflower. I cook that up until the cauliflower gets nice and browned. Then I add the cooked pasta to the same pan and cook it all some more while mixing everything well, then from the pan straight onto a plate, add parmesan and some fresh shopped parsley. So, I’m pretty sure I inherited that method from you, but is that exactly how grandma did it? Hmmm… I’m guessing if I asked you, Uncle Philip and Uncle Johnny, I would never know the real truth 😉 I agree about the NO COFFEE in the sauce, I just don’t think grandma would approve. Thanks for adding to the sauce talk, Love Ya!! ~8-) Anthony

Dear Anthony, I stumbled onto your site through I think its great. I grew up in Reading, PA just west of Philly. Here is a traditional holiday recipe for you. This is called Easter Pizza or Ricotta Pie and is brought to everyones house over the Easter holiday. The result is different Easter Pizzas all over the place. This is one my Grandmother would make. I have modified it with ingredients I like from my aunts recipes. Your cooking style is a lot like my families you must be from the Northeast. ~ Manga bene!
Tim Mancuso – Jefferson County IT Operationsa

Here is the scrumptious looking recipe Tim atached to his email:

Easter Pizza

Crust: You may use your favorite pizza dough recipe, pie crust recipe, or buy frozen bread dough or pre-made pie crust. I make a pizza dough. Which ever style of dough you use roll it out to about 1/4″thick and line a 10″x3″ greased pie pan. Save half of the dough for the top. Tim was nice enough to get back to me with a real Pizza Crust recipe which you can check out below. 🙂 Thanks Tim!
Filling: Combine all ingredients. 1/2 LB Prosciutto Cubed, 1/2 LB Capacola Cubed, 1/2 LB Genoa Salami or Sopressatta Cubed, 2 LBS Ricotta Cheese, 12 ounces mozzarella Cubed, 5 eggs, 2 TBS Italian Parsley, 1/4 CUP Grated Romano Cheese, Salt & Pepper to taste. Fill dough lined pie pan with all the filling. Then place the top of the pie on and fold it under the excess from the bottom piece. Make sure it is sealed. Vent the top and brush with olive oil bake at 375 for an hour or until pie is golden brown.

Easter Pie Easter Pie

Hi Tim, You guessed right! I am from Springfield, MA and my Grandma Salerno lived in Worcester, MA. A LOT of Italians in Worcester! This Easter Pizza looks yummy! I don’t remember anything like this from when I was a kid. Don’t remember grandma making an Easter pizza. She did make an onion pizza that is similar to this, filling is mostly just sauce and onions though. But I remember it being very think like this Easter pizza. I am going to try this and will make sure I do this during Easter. Thanks for the recipe. I just emailed my mom and asked her if she remembered this and this is what she wrote me: “Anthony, I have heard of this, although, grandmoma Salerno & Nonna (Grandpa Salerno’s mother) did not care for it. They thought it was too rich. Also, the one I had tried in New Orleans of all places, had ham as the main ingredient. Let me know what you think after you and Cindy make it.” I guess now I know why I don’t remember grandma making this pizza 😉 Well grandma Salerno and Nonna were extremely seriously picky about their Italian food, so I am still going to check out this recipe 🙂 ~8-) Anthony
Here is the pizza dough recipe that Tim sent me. Have not tried it yet but looks awesome!

Pizza Dough Recipe (makes 2 10 inch pizzas)

  • 1 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cps warm water 110*F
  • 1 cup cake flour (not self Rising) this will help give you a more flexible dough, the kind you can fold in half while eating.
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsps salt
  • Olive oil to grease bowl.

Sprinkle yeast in warm water to proof. In large mixing bowls combine flour salt and yeast. Knead for about 10 minutes adding flour if needed. Coat large bowl with olive oil and place dough in bowl turning it to coat evenly with olive oil. Let rise in warm place until it doubles in size about an hour an a half. ( I usually turn the oven on for a few minutes then turn it off open the door and place the bowl of dough in there to rise closing the oven door when much of the heat has escaped. You want about an 80*F environment.) Punch the dough down and separate it into 2 halves. Make into balls and dust with flour. cover with plastic wrap on floured surface and let rise again maybe another hour. You may do the same oven trick if the dough is on a wooden cutting board that will fit in the oven. The warmth speeds up the rising time. I have also done this in a bread machine and it works ok. With two young boys 1 and 3 I don’t have is much time to spend kneading dough. I have also only let it rise once but the dough is not quite as light when it is done.

Classic Pizza Margherita from Napoli
Form 2 10 inch pizzas. Top with San Marzano tomatoes crushed through your hands and cooked down until the water is gone. To test this drop a spoonful on a plate and make sure there is no water ring around it. If there is simmer the tomatoes longer. Add salt to taste while cooking (no garlic and spices like you would in a Sunday gravy). If you can get it use fresh Buffala Mozzarella (in Colorado they don’t know what fresh mozzarella is forget finding buffala) if not your favorite fresh mozzarella will do. Place tomato sauce on pizza,and as much cheese as you like. The mozzarella will be sliced in circles about 1/4 to a half inch thick so leave some space because it will melt out. Drizzle good olive oil on it before placing it in a 500* oven bake about 10 minutes. When it is almost done slide it out of the oven and through a bunch of fresh whole basil leaves on it and finish cooking. You don’t want the basil to burn. Unlike New York or Philly pizza the cheese is not as dominate. I have had pizza in Napoli where they only through maybe three pieces of cheese on it and some basil. It is the dough and tomatoes and olive oil that make it good.

Dear Anthony – My name is Jessica and I now live in Northern Nevada. I grew up in South Jersey – Philadelphia area. I really like your site. I am a 27 year old mother of three – AND I MISS THE ITALIAN FOOD FROM BACK EAST!!!! I love living in Nevada now – and the Mexican food is great – but their is no real pizza here. Now I know the pizza in Philly and Jersey is probably not true Italian – like straight out of Italy – but it was made in small Italian shops by small Italian speaking guys that try to hit on you. : ) Now, I need to eat some good pizza. These westerners do not know what they are doing. Its all chain pizza shops with ………well…I could go on and on about how bad the pizza is. So I gorge myself with Italian hogies and pizza when I visit home. I would rather know how to make a real pizza like that here! Thin, cheezy……..maybe a little greasy..I dont care.
Do you have a crust recipe and directions like they use in the shops? Is it possible? Or must I continue to gorge once a year in Jersey?
Jessica ~ By the way – people here make their lasagna with cottage cheese, so gross.
Jessica, Yes, the pizza in Jersey (and New York) Rocks!!!! I have experienced it first hand. I have yet to have anything that compares… I’m not totally sure about the pizza being like straight out of Italy but hey, if it’s served by small Italian speaking guys there must be something to it 😉 As far as thin, cheesy and a little greasy… I’m not sure this is like real pizza out of Italy, their concept of pizza is a bit different. The pizza you speak of is Italian /American. Kind of a USA creation. I don’t have a pizza crust recipe but I do have a recipe my Grandma Salerno used to make every Christmas, it was OH so special. It was Onion Pizza, very unlike an pizza you have ever seen probably. When it is done it comes out of the oven (in a baking pan like what you would use to cook Lasagna with) nice and golden brown with a 1″ layer of crust on the bottom a nice middle layer of wonderful spaghetti sauce and onion, tons of onions!!!!! and then another 1″ layer of crust on top. You cut out squares with a spatula like you would Lasagna and serve it piping hot, add a little sauce on top, some parmesan, sprinkled with some fresh chopped parsley and whalla! A feast!!!! This style is a little more like real Italian pizza. My grandma Salerno is from Italy and she and her mom made this pizza when they lived there. Man! Now you have gone and made me extremely hungry and missing my grandma…. I will get a hold of my mom and get this recipe for you and I will get it up on the site as well. Will try to make it soon so I can write down all the steps and take some nice photos. Well, in the meantime happy cooking and my some nice small Italian speaking guy move into your neighborhood and open up a Jersey pizza shop 🙂 ~~~ Cottage cheese in Lasagna? Oh the horror! ~ Ciao, ~8-) Anthony

Buon giorno,   I couldn’t believe your spaghetti and meatball recipe. I have lost all the “Great” women mentor’s in my life. Some of them I lost very early in life, so I have been cooking with the best memories that I could stir up, so when I was reading through your recipe it was so incredible close to what I could remember and what I have been doing with a few things that I had forgotten, but now I have it in full. It was almost like calling my Aunt and getting her recipe, and I just wanted to thank you very much for giving me a little bit of my past back to me… Ciao, e, grazie, ~ Carolyn
Carolyn, Yes, it IS very special to have the recipe of those gone by. Every time I make the sauce I am reminded of special times spent with my grandparents and with my mom. Italian food has this incredible power that draws in past emotions with it. Hard to explain unless you grew up with the food being so important and such love and care put into the whole process of making it and then, the time spent enjoying it and the people with it. Such special times! I’m glad to share this with you and good to hear it was so close to Aunt’s. Well, happy cooking and share the love! ~ Ciao, Anthony

Anthony, Believe it or not, I am a 55 year old woman who does not cook…up until 9 years ago, I always had Mom around. I have had the desire to try my hand at sauce the way Mom made it but since I never watched her make her delicious sauce, I was at a loss on how to do it. Then I found your recipe which I will attempt to do this weekend. My only question is how much sauce does your recipe make? Hopefully, if I do everything right and it turns out fabulous, I would like to freeze some for a later date. Can you help me out with this question? ~ Thank you, Susan
Hi Susan, I think you will find the sauce very easy to make with this step by step recipe of mine. I originally wrote out this recipe for my dad who can’t cook at all, he followed these directions and made a perfect sauce the first time, he was amazed 😉 It’s just knowing all those little secret grandma steps that makes it all so mystical. This recipe makes about enough sauce for 10-12 people. I have a family of 4 and every time I make it I always have some leftover to freeze. The sauce almost tastes better after you have frozen it and then thaw and reheat again. I think it’s because the spaces have time to marinate, who knows. But this recipe is perfect, you feed the whole family and then freeze little containers for later. Want a nice little spaghetti lunch, take out a small container of sauce and whalla 🙂 Well, happy cooking… You can do it, I know it 🙂 Let me know how it all comes out? ~ Ciao, Anthony

Hi Anthony! I really appreciate fine tasting, authentic italian food. I stumbled upon your recipe, and am so excited to try it! I am a fairly new cook without a lot of experience (I’m 26 years old). There are certain things that pop out at me as being the secrets to a great sauce, like the sprinkle of sugar and the soaked bread slice for the meatballs. One question I had, though… I have never really made my own homemade sauce and meatballs before. I kind-of assumed I would be using the trinity of meat for the meatballs: veal, pork, and beef. Why don’t you use this in your recipe? I am still going to try it your way, but was wondering if you could give me some insight into your choice. Thanks for your help!! ~ Kim – Wilmington, DE
Kim, Hi! Glad you are enjoying the recipe. I hope it all comes out great for you. Authentic Italian cooking should be an experience, not just cooking 😉 Let’s see, why not the meat trinity…? Well, I do use pork and beef but not veal. Answer is simple, ’cause that’s how grandma did it. I am trying to recreate everything my grandma Salerno did when I was a kid. I used to help her cook and ask lots of questions, oh BOY, she loved that! If you ever want to be friends with an old Italian woman, talk with her about her cooking, that will do it every time! 😉 My grandma was never really big on veal. She made veal cutlets but that was about it when it came to veal, she “never” put it in her sauce. She did on occasion throw in some sausage, but most of the time it was pork chops, meatballs and braciole, but the braciole was on special occasions only. You know, like when someone dies or something 😉 Funeral where a time for exceptionally big feasts. Must have been an Italian thing. Christmas too was HUGE when it came to cooking. My grandma, mom and uncles would all be cooking for days! Wonderful, I can smell it now! It’s amazing how many memories can be tied into just a smell! Anyway, happy cooking and let me know how it all comes out. Ciao, ~8-) Anthony

Dear Anthony,
I have thoroughly enjoyed viewing your recipes for spaghetti sauce and meatballs. It is very close to what I grew up with. I’m Italian-American. My mom use to put out an Italian Christmas Dinner that caused everyone we knew to be envious. Unfortunately, through the years recipes got lost and memories faded. I needed a refresher course, I guess. I feel that your recipes have done that for me. I do, however, have a couple of more questions for you that I hope you can help me out with. I plan on making stuffed manicotti with sausage and meatballs for my Christmas Dinner. Please note that I have a lot at stake because my future in-laws are going to be in attendance. This is a VERY important dinner, impression as well as presentation. I think you can understand that. ALL the cooking from start to finish is resting on my little shoulders!!! My questions are this: Do you know of any bread dipping oil recipes that they can munch on before the main course? I know that sometimes there is an olive oil based dip that has several other ingredients in it and you serve it with warm bread and dip away. I’m just not sure of the exact ingredients. Also, do you have any recipes for what I call Italian Wedding Soup?? In reference to your spaghetti sauce, is the wine necessary or optional? Do you always use the diced tomatoes?? Well, that’s about it, I hope you can help me with my current dilemma. I hope to hear back from you as soon as humanly possible, with good or bad news. Thank you for your help. Merry Christmas! ~ Sincerely, Bonnie
Bonnie, Hi! Oh yes, Christmas dinner is EXTREMELY important, taste, presentation, aroma… EVERYTHING must be perfect! Very importanto. Manicottis? Oh man! Can I come over? That’s one of my favorites and you just reminded me that I don’t have that recipe on the site! I must do this soon. My Sicilian mother in-law makes a wonderful manicotti, just wonderful! She makes the manicotti wraps like a crape, very thing and delicate and the filling.. Oh momma mia! You have gone and made me hungry and longing for manicotti now. I might just have to make this for Christmas as well. Will help me get it up on the site. ~ Dipping Oil, I wish I had a good recipe for this. I have tried this a couple times, what I do is just get a small plate, sprinkle on the middle of the plate, oregano, (finely chopped garlic that has been sautéed in a small pan with just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, heated until you start to see bubble on the edge), basil and fresh ground pepper then pour some really nice extra virgin olive oil in the middle of it and mix it up right there in the plate and to spice things up just a bit I put in about 1/2 tsp. of Jalapeño juice from a jar of jalapeño peppers. After it’s all been mixed up good I like to sprinkle some finely chopped fresh parsley on top for presentation and added flavor. Hot bread is important with this too. You really have got me hungry now! I don’t have the wedding soup recipe. The wine is not a must but does add a nice robust flavor to the sauce. I always use diced tomatoes. Well that should cover it! I hope you have a fantastic Christmas event with the future in-laws. May it all go exceptionally well! Let me know hot it all turns out. Merry Christmas. ~8-) Anthony
Dear Anthony, Thank you so much for your response to my e-mail. So many times you go to websites with contact information and you never hear back from them. I definitely will let you know how things turn out and I hope with your busy schedule you can put your grandmother’s recipe up before Christmas so that I can compare it to mine as well as get some extra tips. Do your best with that ok? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. Much Appreciation ~ Bonnie
Well, here it is New Yeas Eve, and still no Anisette cookie recipe…. arg! Soon, I promise, soon. Happy New Year!
~8-) Anthony

Update: I’m happy to say I finally have the Anisette Recipe up on the site, complete with videos! 🙂 WooHoo! 
Months later…….

Dear Anthony, Happy New Year!! I’m not sure if you remember me. I’m the girl who was under immense pressure to impress the future-in-laws with stuffed manicotti on Christmas Day. Well, I’m pleased to say that it was a HUGE success. Everything seemed to fall into place, as long as I remembered to keep breathing!! The meatballs came out really well, although the braciole seemed to really shrink and they did break apart in the sauce. Perhaps I cooked the sauce too long. Not sure..But, it didn’t seem to take away any of the flavor. The vote is unanimous tho’, this is going to be my FOREVER sauce. There’s no going back now. I, instead of freezing leftover sauce, prefer to jar it instead. That’s more in the lines of my comfort zone, because I know what I’m doing. It’s just as good to me. I did have problems with the dipping oil, I gave it a test run and didn’t like it, so I didn’t serve it. I don’t know what I could of done wrong, so I played it safe. I’m guessing that it might of been the brand of Olive Oil that I used. I has run out of the Filippo brand so I improvised with another. Again, that may or may not have been the problem.I did, however, manage to come up with an Italian Wedding Soup recipe that I literally pieced together from two different recipes, and that also was a hit. I’m VERY anxious tho’ to get your manicotti recipe. There’s ALWAYS room for improvements, and I’m always looking for newer and different recipes to try.I used manicotti from a box, which again, were fine, but, next time I would prefer to make them from scratch as well.I’m also curious if the filling is different from the Lasagna filling, which is what I ended up using, nobody was wise to that either. I like to follow recipes to the letter, until I get the feel for them, then I can use a pinch of this and a pinch of that. Measurement for me right now are EXTREMELY important. Because of what was at stake, there was NO room for error. For the meatballs, I did stray a little bit from you recipe, in that I used 1/2 lb. of ground chuck, and 1/2 pound of ground sirloin. I thought that it would just add a little extra punch to the whole taste, and I was right. The problem I always seem to have with meatballs is they tend to come out a little too dry. Not sure if I add too much bread crumbs or cheese or a combination of the two, but that usually is my problem. I ended up making the sauce the Saturday before Christmas because of everything else that I had to make, and it didn’t seem to cause a problem. Next time, however, I don’t think that I will cook it so long and just let it marinate and reheat it the day of. I think I may be better off with this way of thinking.Other than that, it was a success and I owe it to you and the time and patience you took to put it all down on a website. I’m eternally thankful. It was a whole lot of work, and I was so tired that I couldn’t see straight when all was said and done, but, nobody can say that I didn’t try my best, and that’s what I wanted to achieve. So, once again, thank you, and plleeaassee, I know it’s a lot of work, but pplleeassee, put up your manicotti recipe SSOONN as possible. Also, why not post your dipping oil recipe as well..I would like to give that another try also. Well, I could write for hours, but MOM duty is calling. Take care, and from the bottom of my heart…Thank You. Always, Bonnie!
Bonnie, Hi! Nice to hear from you again. Sure I remember you. Sorry so late in responding. My main job is Mechanical Engineering and some times I get so slammed at work I cannot even read email. Anyway, just now reading yours.! You did it! You tackled the sauce project! Congratulations. I’m glad to hear it was a success. Ok, lets start with the Braciole. Yes, if the Braciole was falling apart, then you cooked the sauce to long and you could have had the heat too high as well. You are much better off cooking the sauce for about 1 hour to 1-1/2 hours then just let it sit and marinate. I like to cook the sauce very early in the day, have it all done and then just let it sit there in the pot with the heat off so it can all just marinate. The flavor seems to just seep into everything when you do this. Some strange Italian mystery 😉 Anyway in regards to cooking time, it’s something you have to watch very closely. After you have made this sauce 20 or thirty times you will just know exactly when it’s done! Also, once the meatballs and braciole are in the sauce, you need to always stir very gently from the point on. You carefully dip the spoon in the sauce avoiding any unintentional stabbing of the meatballs of braciole. You dip the spoon down the side of the pan avoiding meat then start to gently stir the sauce. So, if you stir gently when meat is in the sauce and do not over cook, you will not have that problem again. In regards to the dipping sauce, well, I guess I have to take the time next time I make it to write each and every step down like my other recipes. What I recommended to you was from memory. And the measurements I am guessing may have been off. Sorry about that. I will write this all out next time I make it. Manicottis will be up soon. I have been slammed off the wall busy ever since Christmas and have not had a breather yet! By the way, just so you know, the proper pronunciation of Manicottis is (Man-i-guoaties) and you must use your hand when you say it. 😉 If you pronounce the “C”, this is very bad. Trust me, my mother in-law Rose would not know what your talking about if you pronounce the “C”. Ok, onto the meatballs. Problem here was that you added ground sirloin. There is a lot less fat in ground sirloin and it’s a much leaner meat, this will cause the meatballs to be more dry. You want the fat and the grease and yes, be careful not to add too much bread crumbs. You meatball mixture should be wet to the touch and you balls should be not to firm when you form them prior to browning then. This too is an art and you will have the meatballs perfect after you have made this recipe several times. This recipe really is hard work and you will be tired after getting a whole meal together for big groups. But it does turn out to be worth all the work. I just don’t know how grandma did this ALL the time! Well, happy cooking. New recipes coming soon. Ciao, ~8-) Anthony
1 year later…

Dear Anthony, Well, here we are again…. Christmas is rapidly approaching, and I’m back on front street and have been named chef of the day and I find myself writing to you seeking your guidance. First off, let me start by saying hello to you & your family as well as wishing you Happy Holidays. It’s been quite a while since I have emailed you, but have found myself drawn to asking you some more questions & I hope that you have the time to answer them for me. I also hope that you remember speaking with me from before. If not, check out your sauce talk section on your website, hopefully that will refresh your memory of me and our past emails! Here are my concerns & questions for you Anthony……Is it okay and or advisable to use Crushed Tomatoes in lieu of the diced? They have two varieties, one with added puree and one without. Also, I seem to be having a little bit of a water issue. By that I mean, there seems to be a little bit of water that I end up with when I spoon out the sauce after the cooking process. I truly think that ‘I’m getting confused on the breakdown somewhere of adding the water to the sauce from the sauce cans. I think the words you use is fill one of the 28 oz cans about 1/2 way, so does that breakdown to 14 oz of water then, because its half of a 28 oz can? I’m sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, but I have always been bad in math & I think in this case it does make a difference. I would of thought that the extra water (if any) would evaporate, but as I said I noticed it upon serving, and at that point it was too late… I’m really quite the perfectionist, although I truly don’t like admitting that about myself, but, it is true. I also, have not added as much oregano as your particular recipe calls for, I either use less of the amount or don’t add it every time your recipe calls for it. I personally feel that it is a very strong flavor and more times than not, I can taste it more than my taste buds prefer. It’s just a personal taste preference for me. For the meatballs…..When it comes time to add the breadcrumbs??? Do you mean 3 Tablespoons or Teaspoons? This also applies to the sauce when you say add 2 Tsp. of Sugar, is it a tablespoon or teaspoon? Obviously, unlike other fans of your site, I need literal words I’m not a good enough or veteran cook yet, so a pinch here or a little bit of this doesn’t work for me. LOL!!!!!!!!!! I’m so sorry to put you on the spot Anthony, I completely understand that you have been making this for so long you just can eye ball mostly everything & know that it’s just right. I wish I had that talent, but unfortunately for me I don’t. This dinner & presentation like before has to be beyond perfect. But, no pressure!!!!! LOL Last but not least, are you at all able to give me your Manicotti recipe, as far as the homemade crepe part of it??? I don’t want to use the box version if I can at all help it???? The more from scratch I can achieve, the better. I think that about covers my most current dilemma. LOL!! If you can back to me ASAP, I would truly appreciate it more than you know. I hope you & your family are well, and I certainly look forward to hearing back from you soon Anthony. Thank you soooooo very much. Take good care. ~ Bonnie
Hi Bonnie, Sure.. I remember you. Nice to hear from you. Hope all is well? 🙂 OK, I’m pretty late with getting back to you, hope I’m not too late. So busy with work and Christmas stuff, can hardly keep up with everything. Ok, onto your questions:

  • Is it okay and or advisable to use Crushed Tomatoes in lieu of the diced? Should be fine, I have always used diced so I am not 100% sure of the outcome with replacing the diced with crushed, but in theory it should be just fine. Guess I would go with the one without added puree so you get more tomato.
  • The extra water in the sauce might just be a product of you needed to cook the sauce longer. “I think the words you use is fill one of the 28 oz cans about 1/2 way, so does that breakdown to 14 oz of water then, because its half of a 28 oz can?” > Yes. The water as spelled out in the recipe is exactly what I put in for water. The amount and time I put the amount in are important. This water amount can be a little less and or a little more. In your case, since you have already produced a watery sauce I would recommend going with a little less. Leave out one of the tomato paste can’s full of water and kick a little longer than you have been. Do you have an electric stove or a gas stove? Is the pot your using have a Nice thick bottom or a thin one? There are a lot of variables when it comes to how fast the water evaporates. It will eventually evaporate. A good test to see if the sauce is thick enough is as follows. (this is a deep dark secret, tell no one ;-). When you think the sauce is done, when you think it looks good and taste great and you feel good about it. Take out a meatball for tasting purposes, put the meatball on a place. Curt the meatball in half and pour some sauce of the meatball. Give it a lot of sauce. Not just little it sit there for a few minutes before eating (this might be hard, but control yourself). After a few minutes have passed take a look at the plate and specifically the edge of the sauce on the plate. Is there any water seeping from the edges? If the sauce is too watery you will see water on the edges of the sauce, this means you will have to cook the sauce some more. 1/2 more, 1 hour more, all depends. Try to cook it another 30 minutes or so and try a test again. If upon the first test you see no water on the edges of the sauce on the plate you will know it’s ready to serve 🙂 YUM!
  • No problem about the Oregano, like you say, it’s a personal taste thing. For me it’s how grandma did it so it’s gospel and it’s also what I grew upon and am used to.
  • When it comes time to add the breadcrumbs??? Do you mean 3 Tablespoons or Teaspoons? tsp = teaspoons and Tbsp = table spoon, in this case for the breadcrumbs I do mean teaspoons, but sometime you have to put a little more. I start off with the 3 teaspoons then after the meatball mix is all done I check the consistency of the meatball mix, if it’s still a little too wet, I then add a little more breadcrumbs at the time, sometimes I add another teaspoon, mix some more and maybe even add one more teaspoon. The meatballs are really an art form and you have to make them several times before you get the consistency just right. You want them firm and not falling apart, they have to hold up during the browning process and stirring of the sauce but you don’t want them too firm or else they will not be nice and tender. Like I said, an art form. Tender love and care is what is needed. 🙂
  • This also applies to the sauce when you say add 2 Tsp. of Sugar, is it a tablespoon or teaspoon? This also means teaspoons, Tsp = teaspoons.. “However”! You have just pointed out something I had wrong in the recipe!!! Yikes! I always put in 2 Tbsp (tablespoons) not teaspoons. So in this case you are supposed to put in 2 Tbsp. I will have to fix the recipe for this step. Thanks for pointing that out 🙂
  • Manicottis… Can’t believe I still don’t have those up there. Keep making something else so never get to take the time to spell out all the details and take all the necessary photos. I have 1-1/2 weeks off work between Christmas and New Years. I will be trying to get to the manicotti recipe then. Will keep you posted on that. (in the mean time I will look for the crape part)

OK, hope this helps. Happy Cooking and happy times, Ciao, ~8-) Anthony
Dear Anthony, Hey there! As always, thank you for your quick response. You were definitely not too late. Just right actually. I do appreciate it. I’m sorry for what may be perceived as stupid questions, but, I just need clarification. I’m so very much looking forward to you adding the crepe recipe for the manicotti. Up until now I have never really found a recipe that really worked as well as I would like it too, so I have relied on box manicotti, which has worked, but still doesn’t feel right because everything else that I have made with it and for it is by scratch etc., and I felt like I was cheating somehow. Anyway, it was great hearing back from you, and I will certainly try your tips that you mentioned. I’m going out some time this week to buy myself a new saucepan, haven’t been able to locate a 12 qt. one as of yet, not one that is worthwhile anyway. So, the hunt will continue. I also wanted to tell you that I’m going to attempt to make your Anisette Cookies. There actually is a quite unbelievable reason behind this. My husband’s Aunt who lives in Kansas, has throughout the years of my husband’s childhood and even adulthood years has mad what she calls Anise Oil Cookies. She also had help making them from his grandmother. Anyway, you would think that the recipe would be handed down or given out etc. Not the case here. She actually has the one and only recipe in a Safety Deposit Box which will not be opened to reveal this recipe until the good Lord decides her time on earth is no longer needed!!! I kid you not!!!! At which time, my husband will be the ONLY one to receive this recipe. Not his sisters, other nieces & nephews, NONE. I still am having a difficult time wrapping me head around this concept, but, it is true I assure you. Anyway, my point is that I feel your recipe comes close to what they won’t reveal, and I brought this to her attention, and to my amazement, she was more forthcoming with the “secret” than I could of ever expected. She just simply said the your recipe reminded her more of a short bread cookie because of the amount of eggs and butter. But, other than that she actually admitted that it was pretty darn close. So, along with the pasta & sauce etc., I will also be making the cookies! I just had to let you know this otherwise unbelievable, but true story. In the meantime, I’m still tirelessly searching for another Italian Cookie Recipe which when I was growing up was called “Chocolate Rocks” or they can also be called “Chocolate Pepper Balls” they are made with strong leftover coffee and some alcohol is also added to the icing. They are so good I can’t even tell you. I’ve come close and I just vary some of the ingredients and I get a pretty good replica, but, it’s not quite the same. So, the search continues. As far as the Anisette Cookies, well, I’m not too sure if there is a difference between Anisette and Anise Oil either, but, it is what it is. To be honest with you, the Anise Oil tastes too much like Black Licorice and although they are good, I just think that it’s a little overkill. But, that’s just me. They also, use cookie cutters and cut them out in holiday shapes and add food coloring to the frosting to coordinate with whatever shape they happen to use. So, there you have it my Holiday Menu that I’m going to attempt to bring to the table this year. As always, I wish you and your family a very blessed and Happy Holiday Season, & I look forward to further communication and recipe/childhood memory sharing!!!!!! Take good care Anthony!!!! Talk to you soon. God Bless!!! ~ Sincerely, Bonnie
Hi Bonnie, Glad I was not too late 🙂 Not stupid questions at all, really. Yes, making “anything” from a box is cheating.. ha ha… 😉 Oh yes! YES! The Anisette cookies… The most wonderful cookie on the planet. Every bite takes me back to my childhood! I am 43 years old now and I have not gone one single Christmas without those cookies… My grandma Salerno made them every Christmas, then when she passed away my Mom continued making them and I have learned how to make them so I keep that tradition going as well. Wonderful cookie! Glad you are going to tackle that recipe, you will be glad you did. That story about the recipe in the safety deposit box is just TOO FUNNY!!!!!!! But I don’t find it unbelievable, secret Italian family recipes can be a very touchy subject. You can only get “those” kind of recipes with lots of love and affection and with many years of trust 🙂 Would love it if you could take some nice photos of the finished product for me so i can add them to the visitors photos section on the site, but no pressure 😉 Good luck with all the feasting for Christmas, may it all be glorious! Ciao, ~8-) Anthony
Dear Anthony, I come to you once again with some questions. I understand that you are extremely busy with Christmas in a couple of days, but, I sure would appreciate it if you could get back to me whenever possible. I will try to make this brief!!! As you know from my previous email, I and my family prefer using the Crushed Tomatoes instead of the diced. It truly doesn’t change the outcome at all, I know this because I have used both and I don’t believe there is a difference. However, this is my problem. I can only find (and believe me I have looked everywhere) the Crushed Tomatoes in 28 oz. cans and not the 16 oz. as the diced tomatoes come in. So, because I’m really bad in measurements and math, I’m not sure how to make the adjustments accordingly!!! Is any of this making any sense? I hope so. I suppose I could just measure out with measuring cups 32 ozs. and go from there, but, I wanted to run it by you first to see what ideas or suggestions you may have. Also, with the 1 lb. of Ground Chuck for the meatballs, again I have looked everywhere, including but not limited too Super Wal-Mart, and I can only find Ground Chuck with ratios, such as 70/30 and 80/20. Which one of these do you recommend? I’m sorry to be so precise, but, I just don’t want to stray from your recipe anymore than I have too. Plus, I’m cooking for a lot of people, mostly colleagues that my husband works with and the pressure is on for me to make an oh so perfect presentation, and oh so perfect taste!! Last, but certainly not least, what are the chances of being able to roll out the Anisette Cookie Dough into Christmas shapes? I read the recipe, and you make special notes that the dough is very sticky which leads me to believe that it can’t be rolled out. I just thought that it would be an extra special touch if I had some of them cut out with my cookie cutters!!! That’s it for now. I hope to hear back from you soon. Please take good care of yourself. Merry Christmas!!! ~ Bonnie
Hi Bonnie, Hope you had an awesome Christmas. Sorry just now getting back to you with this email. Been out of town with family. Had an amazing time? This was a very busy Christmas, did not get time to make all the Italian cookies we usually make and mail out to all the family, too much to keep up with this year :-(. But had a wonderful Christmas though. Still no Manicotties yet.. soon I promise. I did finally get to my home made Raviolis though 🙂 Writing out the recipe now and have the photos up and working on the step by step. Here is a sneak peek 🙂 OK – onto your questions, answers are too late I suppose, sorry ’bout that. Crushed Tomatoes in 28 oz. cans and not the 16 oz. as the diced..> I would recommend you get a nice cheap scale like I have here. Very handy to have around the kitchen when cooking. Or you could just clean out a 16 oz. diced tomato can, fill it up with water, dedicate a Tupperware container for liquids, fill it up from the 16 oz can and with a marker make a 16 oz. mark on the container and that can be your dedicated 16 0z crushed tomato measuring device 😉 I can only find Ground Chuck with ratios, such as 70/30 and 80/20. Which one of these do you recommend? > You want the one with more fat. If you get meat that is too lean you don’t get enough grease when your Browning the meatballs and you loose flavor, not to mention that the meat that is very lean tends to come out tough. I forget the number ratio’s, which number is which, but you want the one with more fat. What are the chances of being able to roll out the Anisette Cookie Dough into Christmas shapes? > Well, with the recipe as it is written out you would not be able to do this because of what you mentioned, the dough would be way too sticky. But you could experiment with placing a teaspoon of the dough on the counter add just a little flour and work with the dough until it’s not sticky, then shape it. Might change the taste a wee bit but not much if you don’t have to add too much flour. Hope this helps, again, sorry I was late on the responses. Have a blessed and joy-filled New Year! ~8-) Anthony

Tony, I am Italian, Mom and Dad both born in Italy. Mom is from Sicily and my Dad is from Naples area. They both have different cooking styles for the same recipes. It used to be fun on Sunday morning listening to them argue about what went into the gravey (we called it gravey) those days (the 50’s). I tried you sauce and meatballs and it was very close to my family recipe and the tasted the same. It was very good and I enjoy your web page. Keep up the great cooking and I love your style. ~ Joe
Joe, So glad I could have something close to what you remember. Having a sauce that you can cook like you had when you grew up is a very precious thing. 🙂 Always brings happy family memories of my childhood flooding back to me when I make the sauce. The power of da sauce!!! Well, glad you liked it. Happy cooking and share the love! The love that you pour into the food that is 😉 ~8-) Anthony

Hi Anthony, I tried your recipe over the weekend and loved it. Except (and I am so embarrassed that I’m admitting this because I feel like an idiot) somehow- the meatballs, braciole and the pork chops taste dry. How this is even possible, I have no idea. Ever heard of this before? I didn’t cook the sauce too long- that I’m sure of. Any ideas? Thanks so much for the recipe- it’s a keeper and I will be sure to make it again and TRY to get it right. 🙂 Maybe it’s because I’m not Italian that I’m having these problems. 🙂 ~Tori
Tori, Actually, you probably did not cook it long enough. One think you can do that does help which I failed to put up on the site, (so many grandma secrets to remember) is one thing that helps. After you have cooked the sauce and it seems done. Turn off the heat and lit the sauce just sit there for a couple of hours, this will allow the meat to marinate in the sauce, then just heat the sauce back up and cook for another 1/2 hour of so. This helps is the meat is coming out dry. ~8-) Anthony
Anthony, I Thanks so much. I think that you’re right. I made lasagna with the sauce last night and used the meatballs and the pork and go figure- after cooking more, they were like butter. Thanks so much! Something to remember for next time- I can’t wait! ~ Tori

Anthony, I was searching for a good spaghetti sauce recipe and found your site. After buying all of the ingredients and a lot of Chianti and downloading the music, I embarked on this adventure. I have to say that this is the most fun I’ve had in YEARS. My stepfather danced in the kitchen while getting drunk on the wine (which was great). And, my neighbors thought I went crazy (though I think they were secretly jealous of the wonderful aromas coming from my house). This sauce is AMAZING and these were the best meatballs I’ve ever made! I woke up the next morning and the entire place still smelled like an Italian restaurant. ~ Julie
Julie, Sorry, so long for this response. Been on vacation at the beach, no back into reality..ugh! Rather be back at the beach. So glad you had fun with the recipe. WoW! It even got your stepfather dancing, great! The power of good Italian food is strong. It brings family and friends together. I remember going to my grandmothers house when I was a kid and the smell you speak of? That was a permanent smell in my grandma’s house, just wonderful! I can still smell the garlic now. It’s so much work, but so worth the effort. Keep on cooking and tell your stepfather Anthony says hi 🙂 ~8-) Anthony

Anthony, Love your recipe for spaghetti and meatballs!! I recently volunteered to make the sauce and meatballs for our First Annual Spaghetti Dinner Dance at our Methodist Church in Pahrump, NV. I had made it before for four people at home a couple of times. But making it for 110 people was something else. I multiplied the recipe by 4 and made four batches on four different days. The results were awesome and I received many compliments for the meatballs and the sauce. Even from some Italians. (Great endorsements). People asked for any leftover sauce to take home and gave donations to our cause. Thanks for a great recipe. ~ Jim
Hi Jim, WoW… Sauce for 110!!! God bless you! That is a lot of work. I’m sure everyone was blessed and I am very glad to hear that it helped you raise money for your cause. Wonderful 🙂 So you multiplied the recipe by 4 for one batch and made for of those batches? Is that right? That’s a bigga sauce pan no? Can you give me more details on this? I get a lot of emails asking me how to make the sauce for 60, 80 and yes 100 people. I’m glad to hear that it all came out well! ~8-) Anthony

Anthony, I almost have a VERY similar recipe. But I use more of sugar and instead of diced tomatoes I use whole tomatoes (2 cans and only 1 can of tomato paste).. For the pork I use sausage, I cook that in the sauce pan I cook the sauce in. I cook the onion first then put the garlic in (my garlic tends to burn) For meatballs: after I cook the meatballs, I put a small can of hunt tomato sauce in the pan along with more chopped up garlic. Let that cook for about 5 minutes on med heat, then add it to the sauce. You can never go wrong with garlic. Garlic makes the sauce! Thanks for sharing your recipe, I will have to try it and compare it to mine, although I do not measure my spices, I just dump. KelliAnn, Paralegal
Kelli, That’s interesting what you do with your meatballs. So, you like, marinate them in the pure tomato sauce and then add them to the sauce. Interesting. This must get a little bit more of the tomato into the meatballs. Sounds yummy! Well if you do end up making my sauce, let me know how it all comes out. Happy Cooking…! ~8-) Anthony

Hi, Anthony!I just finished preparing the spaghetti and meatballs from your recipe. Delectable! With no intention of trying to alter your recipe, I just thought I’d share with you some additions I’ve made as a “second generation” italian. Firstly, I put my meatballs on a baking sheet and bake for 25 mins at 350. I find they hold their shape and firmness much better! Secondly, I have sneaked in an ingredient that would have my gramma turning in her grave, but alas, a cup of coffee gives the sauce a nice, subtle “burnt” flavor! Yum! Thanks for your website and reminding me so much of my childhood. Those familiar, soothing smells! ~ Sincerely, Lisa
Lisa, WoW! A cup of coffee in the sauce? Momma Mia! Grandma Salerno would NOT approve! 😉 Although, that sounds interesting for sure. I just might try that, but will tell no one in the family that I did so. Would never hear the end of it! Baking the meatballs is unheard of too, though I could see how that would keep them together better. I’m kind of a purist and always try to keep the traditions of how my grandma did, exactly how she did it. It brings back all the wonderful childhood memories 🙂 Familiar and soothing smells….. Definitely! Nothing like a house FULL of the smell of Italian cooking and this can only be achieved after one has cooked all day while pouring love into the food. Happy Cooking. ~8-) Anthony

Hello Anthony, I just wanted to tell you that I have been cooking Italian gravy and meals for the last thirty years. I would put my gravy up against anyone’s. I grew up in NJ and even there everyone came to our house for Italian Sunday dinners. Well, your recipe is my new Sunday gravy. It is wonderful. Thanks for sharing! ~ Donna
Donna, WoW! What a compliment. I know what it’s like to have the same sauce recipe for so long. You become quite bias and never really taste anything close you your own and what you grew up with. So for you to actually like mine better? Well, let’s just say grandma would be proud 🙂 Happy Cooking! ~ Anthony

Hi Anthony,
Just found your site, can’t wait to try your sauce, and the pictures are great! You should write a cookbook! In the sauce talk section, Charles, with a grandmother named Rose from Bari, wanted a cookie recipe. I think I have it.

  • 6 Eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 little scoops of solid crisco (maybe about 11/3 cups)
  • 6 cups of flour
  • 7 teaspoons of baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • juice from 1 orange
  • juice from 1 lemon

In a bowl mix the eggs, juice of lemon and orange, sugar and vanilla.
In a large bowl put flour, crisco, and baking powder, start mixing it with your hands til crumbly, make a hole and add 1/2 of the mixture from the 1st bowl. Again start mixing with your hands and knead it until forms a ball (may need to add some more flour).
May want to refrigerate dough for awhile, before rolling. Can roll out dough and cut with cookie cutter, or can use cookie press, or can take pieces and roll in your hands and then make like a pretzel. Can glaze them on top, put sprinkles or jimmies, or mini chocolate chips. Bake 350 oven for 10-15 minutes…Great cookie to dunk in coffee. (mixing the batter is a bit messy). I have made them without the lemon and orange juice also. Good Luck, I haven’t made them in 20 years.. ~ Judy
Judy,  Thanks a bunch! This recipe looks yummy! 🙂 Tying to find Charles’ email address now to send this to him. So what is the name of this cookie? Did not see an actual name anywhere. Oh, I love the measurements for Crisco. 4 little scoops.. ha ha!!! This is like what my grandmother writes down in her old recipes. My mom had one of my grandmothers recipes and in the recipe for one of her cookies the measurement for flour was “add some flour”.. LOL! So I am left to experiment until I find that perfect taste that matches hers. Anyway, thanks so much for getting the recipe to me. I am curious about the name of this cookie though, it sounds like something my grandma used to make. Oh, yes by the way, I do have a vision for a cookbook one day, just working on more recipes first. ~8-) Anthony
Hi Anthony,  Happy New Year! I use to call the recipe Italian Cookie Knots, but I asked my Italian friend, and she said all she has on her recipe is Grandma’s Cookies. Also, I know I had made them with 11/4 cups of vegetable oil (instead of the scoops of Crisco), and didn’t put in the juice from lemon and orange juice, but that is not the real Italian way. I called them knots because I would roll pieces of dough between my hands, so it would be like a string and make a knot. So maybe you have to try both. They remind me of a Stella Dora type cookies, on the dry side, but great with coffee or tea. Good Luck. ~ Judy

Anthony, (Man Your Sauce Is “OFF THE CHAIN”!!), I did your eggplant Parmesan sauce “complete with pork chop” and meatball as described. It was “off the chain”. Used all of the fresh ingredients (rubbed them too) and it was very good. Made the Italian ROUX and I an 100 percent Cajun born South of Interstate 10 in Louisiana…..that’s Cajun and I know what a Roux is……… Also took the pork chops after cooking in the sauce for 3 hours, copped up on a cutting board, added ground chuck, onion, oregano and parsley and Bread Crumbs to make meatballs, fried in real butter and added to sauce for 2 more hours. Served Eggplant Parmesan with a side of meatball and sauce. Thanks for the great recipe….this one is a keeper. ~ Randy ~ Houston, Texas PS – My Mom is in several South Louisiana cookbooks (Annie Mae)…..She Can Cook Too.
Randy, So glad you liked the recipe. That Eggplant recipe is a good one for sure! 🙂 “Off the chain”… now there is a saying I have not heard yet. I like it 🙂 So your a Cajun boy huh? Cool! I lived in New Orleans “Algiers area” for 9 years, between ages 12-21. Just loved it! I still miss the good food! Anybody with “eaux” in there name I KNOW is from southern Louisiana. I spent a lot of time in Morgan city and New Iberia as well, had a girl friend there and well, that’s a long story. Man! The thing you did with the pork chops. That’s sound really good!!! Will have to try that! “Let em dun told you dat sounds good… ieeeeeee :-)” Well happy cooking. ~8-) Anthony

Dearest Anthony,
I wrote you at the start of the July 4th weekend with a few questions before beginning the sauce-making adventure. I was supposed to let you know how things went, and I apologize for not writing until now. I revisited the site (as I’ve done several times since July) just to see if you had updated the “sauce talk” portion. When I saw you had posted my email to you, the guilt was overwhelming. I had to write. Let me first say the only reason I haven’t written is because I wasn’t quite sure what words would be enough to express the gratitude I feel for you and this website. I made this sauce for the first time that weekend with the meatballs. I never knew I could make meatballs that good…no trouble at all! A flood of memories came back and have stayed with me since. I have made it with the braciole also which took entirely too long..but only because the butcher didn’t follow directions and the meat was sliced too thin. I had to work to keep everything together. Then I cooked them in the sauce so long, it all fell apart anyway..but the taste was still amazing! I have made this recipe 4 times in total and will be preparing it again tomorrow. I have a lasagna to make next weekend. I like to make the sauce ahead so it can freeze for a few days at least and get an even better taste. I have served it to a few close friends and family members, and they ALL have raved about it! My mother took some home with her (though she says doesn’t eat beef) since she loved it so. She said she couldn’t believe it actually got better after she froze it! My grandfather (on the non-Italian side of the family) fussed all day long as I cooked because I wouldn’t turn down the “damned Italian music!” I told him that it made my food happy, and he’d thank me in the end. After his first taste of sauce, even HE said “that’s amore!”lol My husband was away when I made it the first time, and didn’t seem too impressed when I was raving about it. When he got back and wanted spaghetti…I gave him some of my homemade sauce…and was so terribly disappointed when he announced that “it all tasted the same to him.” The following week, he wanted spaghetti again, and I refused to put the work into this sauce for him to say the same thing. I used Emeril’s Homestyle marinara…adding more basil, oregano, parsley and garlic…I thought it tasted great…as far as jarred sauces go. After dinner, he sheepishly admitted…maybe there WAS a difference and APOLOGIZED! He’s been asking for “my” sauce ever since 🙂 There is truly something special about this recipe. It seems that your nonna put so much love into it that it has somehow managed to spread through so many other families. It’s emotional for me because each time I make it…I feel MY nonna’s presence. She’s always there to remind me “don’t forget to stir the sauce.” And I do…and it’s good…and each time I make this, I will thank God for you…and for the wonderful memories the nonnas have left behind. ~ Salute, Angelinah!
Angelinah, Sorry for so long to respond to your lovely email. I’ve been on vacation at the beach. Wish I were still there. I am now back in reality working my but off. Oh well, so it goes. It’s nice to here from you again 🙂 I’m glad to heat the sauce and everything came out good for ya! Wonderful result you get from all that effort. It’s so much work, but as you can see that is what makes it taste so good. All the hard labor and love poured into the food is what makes it all so special. Oooh, thin meat and cooked to long, bad combo.. Bummer :-(. LOL! Yes, the “damned Italian music!” does make the food happy and it helps the cook as well :-)….. And yes, grandma’s love is still spreading. Share the love! ~ Anthony

P.S. Angelinah!! You know the Louis Prima song… Angelina? Great song. Check it out! Louis Prima – Angelina.

Dear Anthony: Your receipts are fantastic. You sound like a great cook plus you enjoy the moment. Can your wife cook as well? To the person who asked for pizza sauce. Its almost like Anthony’s pasta sauce recipe.
For approx 2 pizzas:

  • 28 oz tomato sauce…san marzianos are best but any good variety is great.
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 3 ozs water
  • If you like pieces of tomato in your pizza get a can of crushed tomatoes as an OPTION
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup oregano
  • 1/4 cup parsley (fresh of course)
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil (high quality)
  • Pinch course pepper
  • Dash of red wine
  • Red pepper (optional according to taste)

When finishing up the pizza always sprinkle a little olive oil over the top. It browns the crust and heightens the flavor. Bon appetite! Let me know how it turns out! DON’T FORGET THE ITALIAN OPERA MUSIC.! ~ Maeve
Maeve, Yes, I have been blessed with a Sicilian wife who is a great cook! But I make the sauce 😉 Thanks for the recipe! 🙂 ~8-) Anthony

Hi Anthony, Manitoba eh? Metis also? I searched in vain for a real Italian sauce recipe till I found your page. Most Google links are to U.S. mainstream WASPish recipes that are totally whitewashed and bland. Your personal engaging approach is great, and helped me make my first authentic sauce. I deviated a bit — I used fresh tomatoes, herbs, peppers from my garden, also used garlic/basil sausage instead of pork chops, and added peppers, mushrooms. I hope that’s OK. Will be working further on recipes from your site, as you can see from the pic, lots more tomatoes coming in. This is my best year ever!! Again, great to find your site and your personal/Italian take on sharing recipes. Sorry, I couldn’t get your Italian music link to work, so had to substitute Jimmy Cliff reggae. Love your work, keep it up. I’m not sending a picture of myself, I’m just another guy… you’re right, women don’t seem to be participating in your forum… but they never were the best cooks anyway (just grandmothers)! PS I think the old Italian woman next door is jealous, after smelling those meatballs searing! ~ Mike
Mike, Hi. Thanks for the pic. I’m glad you liked my personal approach. To me, this makes sense and I wish more people would write this way. More step by step and detailed, especially with recipes. Most recipes leave out so many subtle details and when it comes to Italian cooking, oh man, are there a lot of little details to know. Fresh tomatoes are always nice to throw into the sauce. Spaghetti sauce is a very forgiving recipe. You can add all kinds of stuff to it and still have it come out very nice. Garlic/Basil sausage? Yum! That sounds lovely, have not had those before. You may want to try the music download again. It works fine, however there are those rare times when I have to reboot my server and you could have tried during one of those times. Keep on cooking! 🙂 Anthony

Hello Anthony, I found your recipe on the web for sauce and it is very similar to my Grandma’s also a Rose, she was from Bari. I am going to try the Lasagna for the first time this weekend on company–8 adults, 4 women and 4 men. Would one 13×9 pan provide me with enough servings? Also I am in a wheelchair and it is difficult for me to entertain so would it be ok to assemble the lasagna the day before and bake immediately before dinner the next day? Also wondered if you have a recipe for a simple biscuit like cookie with a sugar glaze on top. My grandma made them routinely and would often send a large bag home with us, they are great dunked in coffee- they do not contain nuts. The recipe was rather simple, flour, baking powder, Crisco (or butter?) sugar, eggs, vanilla and milk but I just can’t re-create it exactly-she never measured anything. I know she made a well in the dry ingredients and added the wet ingredients, rolled out the dough and cut with cookie cutters Sometimes she topped them with colored jimmies other times a thin sugar glaze. Any ideas? ~ Charles
Charles, So sorry I’m late on this email. Been out of town and swamped with work! I hope the lasagna came out OK? Was it a success? The lasagna should be just perfect (using 13×9 pan) for 8 people, especially with 4 of them being women seeing that they normally don’t eat as much as the guys do. I don’t recommend assembling the day before, although it can be done. I have done this before and it came out just fine). It’s nice when everything is fresh when possible. Sorry, I don’t have a recipe for the cookie you mentioned. Sound yummy though 🙂 Well, happy cooking! Ciao, ~8-) Anthony.


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