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The “Great’s” Pasta Sauce

August 12, 2010

Today was my grandmother’s birthday, who along with my grandfather, my niece called “The Great.” Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to her grave in Richmond to celebrate her life with my family, but she hasn’t left my mind all day. My little Serafina and I looked at pictures of her at our wedding, and we chatted about her namesake.

Tonight, because I am still in the middle of Mission-Clean-Out-Kitchen, I didn’t have the ingredients to make any of her classic dishes. So, I offer you a very simple pasta sauce recipe. We don’t do jarred sauce in our house, it is a ridiculous expense that never tastes good. I remember being shocked at my roommates eating Prego/Ragu in college, it is so disgusting and just lazy. Making your Italian sauce makes the house smell wonderful and the food taste good. Just make a batch on Sunday, and freeze what you don’t eat in small containers. In making sauce, my grandmother didn’t believe in piling on vegetables and fancy spices into your pasta sauce. She felt strongly that if you buy the right ingredients and let it simmer long enough, you should have a rich sauce that won’t overpower your foods. So, buy good tomatoes, olive oil, and pasta, take your time in cooking, and you should have an excellent sauce.

The “Great’s” Pasta Sauce


  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tbn of olive oil.
  • 2 Cans of Progresso Whole Peeled Tomatoes (Muir Glen is acceptable in a pinch, but nothing else)
  • 1 can of Progresso or Muir Glen tomato paste


  1. Saute the garlic in a large saucepan. Do NOT burn, it ruins the sauce.  
  2. Add in the whole peeled tomatoes, and hand squeeze the juices out slowly. You want the whole tomatoes for the chunkiness, but the best juices are inside. 
  3. Add the tomato paste, allow the sauce to briefly boil
  4. Salt and Pepper to taste
  5. Let simmer for two hours on the stove at low heat.

Serve with DeCecco Penne and Pecorino Romano cheese…..and you will be having the typical Sunday dinner at our house.


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