Nonna's Pasta Sauce

Nonna's Pasta Sauce

A Calabrian classic, this is the sauce my Nonna would have on the boil every Sunday without fail. It’s incredibly easy to put together, and then takes some time to cook. A good one to put on in the morning or day before eating.


Serves 6

  • 2 x 600ml bottles of passata, tinned tomatoes or crushed tomato tins.

  • 2 lamb shanks (or any meat on the bone)

  • 100ml or “a good splash” of olive oil

  • 4 large cloves of garlic

  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley

  • 2 tablespoons of oregano

  • 4 bay leaves

What you need to do

  • Finely chop the garlic, onion and parsley. Warm the olive oil in a large sauce pot and add them them in. This base of the sauce is called a sofrito. Cook the sofrito over low heat for two minutes, or until the mix is fragrant but hasn’t started to brown.

  • Add the meat while the pot is hot, and brown it all over.

  • Once the meat is brown, add the bottles of passata. When they’re empty, fill them up with water and give them a good shake. Add the water back into the pot.

  • Add oregano, bay leaves and salt.

  • Let the sauce come to a boil, then turn it down to a low heat. Leave it for at least three hours, more if you have time.

  • After three hours, the meat should be falling off the bone. Traditionally Italians take the meat out, and serve it separately with the the meal. If I’m feeling like a bad Italian I like to take it out, pull it apart, and put the meat back in the sauce. 

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