Judi Z’s Spaghetti Sauce

It seemed I was rushing to leave the office earlier these days eager to get home. Life had taken it’s greatest upturn for me. We were falling in love. It was a winter day and the air was crisp. I pulled into the driveway and gathered my briefcase, purse and cell phone and headed toward the garage door, happy to be home once again as I rushed inside to escape the cold with no sweater or coat.

Even in the garage I could detect the familiar fragrance. Garlic! As I entered the kitchen my eyes locked on to a large pot on the front burner. Drops of thick red tomato sauce were leaping from the pot, speckling the surrounding stovetop while instantly spreading on the surface. I turned the temperature control to low.

There was music playing. Some sexy jazz station was softly whispering from the receiver in the family room.

As I turned I saw a sock on the floor. Then another. Beyond the socks were a pair of jeans, then a tee shirt. I followed the trail of clothes to the hallway. I opened the bathroom door to find Tom reclined in a tub filled with bubbles, surrounded by candles emitting a soft glow.

“Welcome home” he said.

Spaghetti sauce is really the basis for our relationship. A few weeks later, while visiting Uncle Frank and Aunt Sue across the street I overheard a phone conversation Frank was having with his brother Lugi, Tom’s father, in Cleveland. “Yah, it must be getting serious. He is teaching her to make the sauce.”

There has been a pot of sauce made on our stove just about every week of our 27 year marriage. And, people who truly know good sauce have told me….”It ain’t bad.” (That is Italian for “delicious!”)

Here is the secret to making a really great sauce:


Minced garlic – 5 cloves
Olive Oil – 5 tbsp.
6 Italian Sausage sweet and hot combined
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes (Find a brand you like and stick to it!)
1 large can of diced tomatoes (Same as above)
1 can of Contadina Tomato Paste
1 cup of grated parmesan Reggiano
1 cup of good red wine (If you wouldn’t drink it don’t use it.)
Sugar 1 tbsp.
Salt and Pepper

In a large dutch oven heat the oil and brown the sausage. When browned, cut into 1″ pieces and return to pot. add garlic and allow to soften, but NOT burn. Add the cans of tomatoes and the oregano, basil,sugar and salt, pepper. Next add the wine and the grated cheese.

Allow the mixture to come to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer and with the lid off allow to simmer for at least one hour.


The sauce will be best the second day. It can be kept in the refrigerator for one week. It can be frozen for up to a month.

Add meatballs to the sauce for an even greater taste.

If you like, you can add a center cut pork chop or a chicken breast with skin and rib bones attached, while the sauce is simmering for taste. Just brown the meat as you did the sausage and leave it in the pot until the first serving.

Oh and, some Italian families call this “gravy”.

Grandpa Tommy Zitiello 1939 (In the hat)

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