Just like Mama used to make....

Good morning.

I have just sent off a recipe to my niece. On Facebook, she mentioned that she was whipping up a batch of spaghetti sauce. As she described it, I realized that it was the same recipe that my mom used when we were kids. My siblings and I all started with that recipe as we left home, and my sister has passed this to her kids.

Other than me, it has become obvious that no one else has modified the family spaghetti sauce recipe. I am going to be interested in my niece’s take on my version of this. Mom’s recipe called for sugar, cinnamon and (of all things) hard boiled eggs.

It sounds like an interesting recipe. What do you do with the eggs? Chop them? Now that you’re older, and have been around, how does it compare to other spaghetti sauce recipes you’ve made or tasted?

I wish my grandmother has written down some of her recipes, but she didn’t really use specific recipes. For example, her crab soup was always amazing, but never exactly the same every time. The contents of her refrigerator sometimes determined what went into the soup.

One day, my mother was with her as she made the soup, and Mom wrote down, the best she could, what went into the soup. It’s a pretty good version, but it lacks the surprise of “What’s it going to taste like this time?” :smiley:

On the other hand, my MIL copied her recipes into a cookbook for my husband’s first wife, and he kept it after the divorce. I can reproduce pretty much anything my MIL makes if I so desire. Someday, the book will go to my daughter and maybe she’ll cook like her grandmother. Or not. Time will tell.

My recipe is very different from what Mom used to make. No hard boiled eggs in mine, nor sugar or cinnamon.

The hard boiled eggs were boiled and peeled and added to the sauce just before serving so you could get an egg along with your meatball. Even as a child, I was not fond of this idea.

Mom’s spaghetti was rather bland with a little onion and even less garlic. It was sweet rather than savory. I got my first job, as a teenager, in an Italian restaurant and learned a different flavor palate. I have an ever evolving method for my spaghetti sauce that is subject to change.

Currently:

Longhair75’s Spaghetti Pomodoro:

This will feed 6 or so people with leftovers

Start out doing the prep work . Roast a couple of bell peppers ( I use one red and one yellow) in your broiler. Half the peppers and clear the seeds and stem. Place them on a cookie sheet under your broiler until the skin is burned black (about ten minutes). Put them in a bowl of cold water for five minutes or so and the skins will peel off real easy. Coarsely dice them and set aside. Coarsely dice a large red onion. Finely dice half a head of fresh garlic (five or six cloves) and also finely dice a handful of shallots. Strip the leaves from a good sized handful of fresh basil. Roll them up and slice them very thin. Do the same with a handful of fresh Italian parsley.

For meat, I use four or five Spicy Italian sausages, a couple of pounds of lean ground sirloin and a pound of lean ground pork. I used to use ground veal, but I haven’t been able to find it for a few years. Mix the sirloin and pork with a palm full of the onion, a little of the garlic and some of the shallots. Add some fresh grated Parmesan cheese and roll into meatballs. (I make mine about twice the size of a ping pong ball)

In a large stockpot (eight quarts or so) start with some extra virgin olive oil. When it is hot, add the onions and sauté them until tender. Break up a couple of the meatballs and lightly brown the meat in the olive oil and onion, then add the garlic and shallots and sauté for another couple of minutes being careful not to burn them. Deglaze the pot with a cup or so of red wine. Turn the fire to low and add ten six ounce cans of tomato paste and one can of beef stock and one can of water for each can of tomato paste. Stir in the roasted peppers, basil, parsley and a palm full of fresh oregano. Bring the heat back up to a simmer.

In a large skillet, lightly brown the meatballs. Place them into a baking dish along with the sausages and bake at 350 for about forty minutes. Deglaze the skillet and the baking dish with another cup or so of red wine and add it to the sauce pot.

Simmer this all day, while carefully drinking the rest of the wine, until it has reduced by about a third. I leave a fresh, crusty French baguette on the counter to allow the family to break off a chunk to “check on the sauce” as it simmers. Four or five hours later, cut the sausage into bite sized pieces and add it along with the meatballs. Another hour, and the Spaghetti Pomodoro sauce is ready to serve over pasta with a tossed salad, hot garlic bread and a nice Italian red wine. Refrigerate the leftovers. This sauce is much better the second day.

I agree with your mom. I love to change up what I cook and enjoy the “What’s it going to taste like this time?” factor.

Look, if you had just one shot, or one opportunity,
to make the best pasta you’ve ever wanted.
Would you capture it? Or just let it slip…

The cook is sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy,
he forgot the recipe already, mom’s spaghetti

I can see the sugar (to offset overcooked tomatoes) and the cinnamon (I often add a small pinch), but the eggs are just. . .odd.

My mother’s spaghetti sauce was of the kitchen sink variety, with things like celery and chopped black olives in it. The main flavor I remember is rosemary, which has been a comfort herb all my life. My sauce is far better than hers could ever be.

My first thought seeing the thread title was spaghetti sauce. I love my Mom’s spaghetti sauce, and have made it myself a few times.

I also use her Hershey Bar chocolate cake recipe…although I thought it could be richer, so I replaced the yogurt with heavy cream. I told her about that, and she told me that the original recipe actually called for cream, and she changed it to yogurt to be a little lighter and healthier.

Nitpick: “Palates” are the things in your mouth (hard and soft). “Palette” is the set of options available to an artist.

The recipe sounds great, though! I like flavoring my sauce with pork chops and removing them before serving, when they’re offered as an accompaniment to the pasta. :o

Not really. Uova in Purgatorio or Uova in Pomodoro is a fairly common Lenten dish in Italian households, the eggs being the protein on days when meat is not eaten.

Commercially it is called a flavor profile.

I have a generic herbs de provence blend that is a fairly go-to use item in my kitchen, along with a gentle harissa [hm, north africanish capsicum based spice blend] and a poudre douce [think sort of pumpkin pie spice with some zing by adding black and long peppers] I have all the assorted individual herbs and spices, but I find that I frequently was grabbing for some old favorites much of the time as they were ‘comfort food’ flavors for me.
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Yeah, I’ve had purgatorio, but it wasn’t with chopped hard-boiled eggs. Just seems odd to add them routinely to pasta sauce.

My grammer mistake.

The pork chop idea sounds tasty.

Country-style ribs, pork chops, beefsteak; it all works. Brown it first and simmer it in the sauce for 3-4 hours until it’s falling apart.

A really good, authentic spaghetti sauce is a magical thing, especially to someone like me who loves Italian food in general and spaghetti in particular. A good spaghetti sauce IMHO will have a richness and mellowness, like fine wine, with nothing that is harsh or acidic or any flavors that scream out at you – it’s all about mellow subtlety.

Sadly, I’ve never succeeded in making my own to my satisfaction, and as my standards have improved I haven’t found any mass-produced brands that I like or, in many cases, can even tolerate. My current go-to is the “semplice sauce” produced in-house by a local sort of upscale Italian boutique grocery. Not a clue about the recipe but the ingredients read: “tomatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar”. I’m told that the best spaghetti sauce shouldn’t have sugar in it but to hell with that, in this case it’s a rule that can be broken. The use of carrots is a bit of a surprise, but again, it works. The amazing thing is I guarantee that if I assembled exactly those same ingredients and simmered them in a pot, it would taste like crap! :smiley: Making great spaghetti sauce seems to be some kind of black art involving timing, technique, and no doubt some kind of secret incantations!

BTW, the idea of throwing in meat to braise with the sauce just for the flavor, and then removing it, seems to be a common technique. A friend used to use pork ribs for the purpose, but I’ve had great sauce that was made without doing this.

My mom a full italian lady would start the sauce every sunday morning and we would eat about 3 pm. It never failed that at some point she would burn the sauce a little on the bottom of the pan and was careful not to scrape the bottom. I grew to love that slight burned taste. I never use water but I use less paste and more sauce, about 3 sauces for each paste.

A former co-worker of mine used to be a chef at a good Italian restaurant, and told me about using grated carrots in the sauce. It really does work.

I’ve added anchovy paste for some background taste, as well.

My ex-husband’s family recipe included raisins because that’s how his great-grandmother, who had come over from Italy, made it.

I never use sugar in my sauce, but I will bubble in a few pinches of baking soda until the acid level works for me.

I really like the freshness of green bell peppers in my marinara. I also like to use a couple of cups of strong port wine to add depth.

carrot often is used instead of sugar the sweet “rootiness” of the carrot balances the acid in the tomato