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Sauce and Preserves Recipe

Nonna’s Sunday Sauce

Andrea Clapp

Nonna’s Sunday Sauce

Andrea Clapp

Every time I make this sauce my kitchen is filled with fond memories of lazy summer Sunday afternoons spent at my Nonna and Papa’s house. Papa would take my brother, sister and I, along with whatever cousins were there (a lot-we’re Italian), out back to the swimming pool that was very near his big garden, while Nonna was busy making a feast in the kitchen. We’d splash in the pool for a while, run barefoot in Papa’s garden feeling the mud squish between our toes, and then he’d chase us with the garden hose to rinse our feet...repeat over and over again. Just about the time our tummies would begin to grumble, the heavenly scent of Nonna’s Sunday Sauce would fill the air.... Yes, it’s possible to taste a childhood memory!

Serves 4 to 6


1tbsp olive oil
1+ bulb garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
2lbs Italian Sausage (or ground beef)
8oz Porcini or button mushrooms, sliced
4lbs peeled, diced tomatoes
1-12oz can of tomato paste
Mix of fresh herbs- basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, marjoram, sage (Sub for 2 tbsp of dried Italian seasoning)
Salt and pepper to taste


Drizzle a large saucepan with olive oil over medium heat. Then add Italian sausage, minced garlic, diced onion, and sliced mushrooms. Saute until the sausage is browned, then drain excess liquids.

Making sure the meat is evenly crumbled, return the pan to medium heat and add peeled, diced tomatoes and tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste. Stir until all ingredients are mixed well.

Spread herbs evenly between two sheets of waxed paper and gently press with a rolling pin for several passes to express the flavors. Then chop and add to the saucepan

Reduce heat and simmer on low for several hours, stirring as needed to keep the bottom and sides from sticking. (This can also be made in a crock pot or roasted in the oven all day while you are working or out in the garden.)

Serve over fresh pasta, use as a braising sauce for homemade braciole, add to lasagna, or it even makes for a great soup base- just add fresh vegetables, noodles and beef stock.

Reader Comments

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    Certainly childhood memories in dear old Malta of years gone by.
    Ron Fenech


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