This is my version of the Cataldo family’s famous “Mom’s Sauce” recipe.
I tried it when I was shooting an episode of Family Dinner. Generations of Cataldos have grown up in their family pork store in Massapequa, NY. And every Monday, the family gathers to catch up, let the kids play together and enjoy a traditional family dinner.
While there were lots of memorable moments, this sauce is the one I keep coming back to (and it’s the one I’m constantly getting asked about!). I was taught to make it because they were loving and so kind to share and cook with me. I was BLOWN away … and now this version of their version is my family’s sauce of choice.
Get the recipe & a video of me making it below.
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My Friend’s Mom’s Sauce Recipe
By The Cataldo Family
- 4-5 yellow onions
- 1.5-2 pounds prosciutto ends, scraps
- 6-10 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
- ½ cup, plus ¼ cup olive oil
- Dried oregano (I love the wild Italian stuff.)
- Chile flakes
- Fresh basil sprigs
- 2-3 cups dry white wine
- 8-10 quarts of passata and pomodori pelati. I like the combo and I like using real ultra artisanal Italian product that I get from www.Gustiamo.com, but supermarket Italian brands work great. So do many California brands. And in a few weeks I will be using all my local tomatoes including from my garden.
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
Dice the onions and the prosciutto. Heat ½ cup of olive oil in a large heavy pot over low medium heat. Caramelize the onions without burning them. Add the prosciutto and garlic and cook for three to five minutes over low heat. Place in food processor, in batches if needed, and pulse.
Place ¼ cup olive oil in a large heavy pot over low heat and add the pureed onion mixture. Cook for five minutes or until the coarse purée is a little darker. Add the oregano, chile flakes and basil and stir. Cook for a minute.
Add the wine. Cook for a few minutes. Add the tomato products and bring to a simmer. Lower heat as low as you can to maintain a simmer but still see some small bubbles. Cook for an hour. I stir every 15 minutes and scrape down sides with a spatula.
After an hour, season with sea salt, and turn off heat. Let rest for two hours to cool and place in containers for the freezer. You will have a superb sauce any time you need it. I place a fresh basil sprig in each container before freezing so there is “fresh” basil flavor in each quart.