Italian-Americans do not mess around when it comes to tomato sauce.
Or food in general, really.
My family is no different. So before we get to the "vittles," here's a "bit" for you.
Shortly before our wedding, my grandmother Yaya Vittles had an unfortunate accident where she broke her hip... and within a matter of days, her body went into complete shut-down mode.
Things were looking pretty grim, so all her close family members were called to say their goodbyes. Mr. V and I drove the three hours to see her in the hospital, and I was beside myself to see her slipping in and out of consciousness.
However, while my dad and stepmom were visiting, she managed to bring some comic relief to an otherwise dreadful situation.
She was having a 'dream' where she was apparently home in her kitchen, making Sunday supper, and she barked out orders to my grandfather in her sleep.
"Pop, get the tomatoes!" she exclaimed.
Then, "I'm making the meatballs!" as she massaged the air with her hands, mixing the imaginary beef and bread crumbs.
Now that's what I like to call dedication.
Thankfully, she was right when she told me that "they can't kill an old horse." Over eight months later, she is still going strong. And... still pumping out the meatballs and sauce.
But despite following her "recipe," mine never comes out as good as hers :(
So I took the best elements from her sauce, as well as the best from another one of my favorites (Pappy V's) and merged them into my own glorious creation.
My dad makes a quick, spicy sauce where my grandmother makes a slow, mild sauce.
I ... make a slow, spicy sauce.
And not to toot my own horn or anything....
But it's awesome.
Mr. Vittles, who does not even really like pasta and sauce, also happens to think it's awesome.
Let's hope you agree.
Spicy Tomato Sauce
- 3 T. olive oil
- 3-4 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 t. crushed red pepper*
- 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 1/2 C. red wine
- 1 C. water
- 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 T. dried parsley
- 1 T. dried basil
- 2 heaping t. black pepper
- 1 heaping t. salt
- 1/2 t. onion powder
- 1/4 t. garlic powder
Add water, wine, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste and stir until heated thoroughly. Add parsley, basil, salt, pepper, garlic & onion powders, and crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
Simmer on low for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with pasta, or use in place of jarred sauce in your favorite recipes. Makes about 2 quarts.
*Note: Depending on how spicy you like it, you can use more or less red pepper. The one teaspoon here gives it a pretty good kick, so I'd try that first before using more. However, I would not recommend omitting it altogether unless you are adding meat to the sauce, which will give it some extra flavor.