Salsa Sorprendente Rossa

I’m on a mission to find a real, deep-rooted, authentic Italian red sauce. There has got to be one out there. There was a sale on strained tomatoes a couple weeks, and so I scooped a few jars into my Oliver’s cart. They sat on my shelf until this past weekend, when I was ready to try out a real true recipe. I went to visit my old friend Anthony.

But first, I had to get the muddy child into the shower. If you remember correctly the day prior:

oliver knees

oliver and doug

Unfortunately, when that night was over, there was no time to douse the Peanut in soapy water since he was out cold on the drive home. I guess the crisp fresh air, the Wisconsin dirt and all that chasing and running around had worn him out! So I scrubbed him down the next day at the sink. We scrambled throughout our day, when it was finally time for a real soaker that night.

Except, he was still playing acrobatics in the bathroom:




Once he was safely de-robed, I was able to settle him down into a warm bath and let him play for a bit.

Now, off to my other task at hand: Real Italian Pasta Sauce (and meatballs)

Here are the players: (Ignore the wine in the background. There was a wine sale last weekend. No worries. I didn't drink them all. Not yet anyway!)

the players - italian red sauce

The recipe called for sauteing the garlic first, then adding the onions second. Normally I begin my recipes the other way around. Thought I'd try it this way this time. Not sure if I agreed tho. So, I heated up the olive oil. I used a press for the garlic. Once the oil was hot, I dropped the fresh (never EVER jarred!) garlic in the oil.


I don't know if you are a cook or not, but a word of warning here. As soon as you can "smell" the wonderful aroma of garlic cooking, it's done!

So I moved on to the next step.... added the onions. (No photo) Sauteed for a few minutes until the onions turn a slight yellow. I stirred constantly! The last thing I wanted was to burn that garlic. If I didn't stir, the garlic would begin to burn. So please be careful. There's nothing worse than burnt garlic. I turned heat to medium. Then added the herbs. I used fresh basil and parsley. And dried oregano. Sauteed for a moment. (No photo) Then added the can / jar of tomato paste. (No photo... what was I thinking?) Added water to the jar, stirred it up and added it to the saute mix. Let it cook for about 5 minutes.

Added the tomatoes and the tomato sauce. Filled up both containers with water, added that to the saute mix. Now I had an actual pot of sauce! But the flavors need to meld and mingle!

At this point my son was calling out to me. "Mahhhhhhhhhm! I'm duhhhhhhhhne!"

"Just a minute Oliver! Let me get my sauce ready! I'm almost done!"

"But Mahhhhhm. I'm duhhhhhne!"

"I'll be right there. Hold tight Oliver!"

I added a splash of red wine... just because.

Next, add the chopped parsley and basil.

parsley basil

"Mahhhhhhhhhhm! I'm done!!! Come here!"

Next, I didn't have pepper, sadly. I lost my pepper grinder in the separation! :) But I still had pepper corns. Ingeniously, I realized I could still crack pepper with the side of a knife! Check it out!

cracked pepper-2


Add to sauce....

cracked pepper

"MOM! Come here! NOW! HELP! There's too many bub-bulls!"

"OK, I'm coming Oliver..." (annoyed).....

My sauce was completed, and it just had to simmer a while. I could put my utensils down finally. This is what I found.

bubbless sky high

Oh my! I had to laugh. Obviously, I forget that our new bubble bath really produces big-time suds when the jets are on!

But at least I got my glass doors cleaned!


Once my son was safely out of the suds, I went back to my sauce. I made my famous (Anthony's famous) meatballs, but with Turkey AND fresh parsley this time. I added a bit too much bread and not enough salt, so they were a bit bland and mushy.

As far as my sauce goes, it too seemed bland. I add more garlic, basil and parsley. And then yet another round of the trio. And then another round. And finally, another couple of cloves of garlic. There. That should do it.


I don't have the photo uploaded yet of the meatballs on the plate, but I will shortly. Take it from me, the sauce was really really quite delicious. Honestly. The balls on the other hand, eh, not so much. Less bread. A dash of salt. Then they'd be great. Since they were turkey I was worried they'd be dry. But they were not.

The next day we tried the sauce. Oh my!! Even better! {Heed my warning... Oliver had / still has garlic breath from eating this sauce!}

I'm still not in love with the sauce, so if you have any suggestions on an authentic Italian sauce, please let me know!

Here's the recipe: (slightly altered by me, from Anthony)

Italian Spaghetti Sauce

  • Oregano
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Parsley (Fresh Parsley - This is Important!! It MUST be Fresh Parsley!)
  • (1) Yellow Onion
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Garlic, fresh (not jarred) and about 5-6 cloves
  • Olive Oil
  • (1) 28 oz. / (2) 800g Tomato Sauce 
  • (1) 6 oz. / (2) 170g Tomato Paste 
  • (1) 16 oz. / (1) 450g Diced Tomatoes  
  • Red Wine 
  • A good Sauce pan at lease 10" diameter and 12" deep (Make sure you have a quality pan, cheap pans have a very thin bottom which tends to burn whatever it is you are cooking. A good quality sauce pan has a very thick bottom to it, this is much better for things that you have to cook for a long time such as sauces and soups.)
  • Water (you will be adding approximately 34 oz. of water along the way during the cooking process, this is an important step so pay attention. Blue text indicates the addition of water). Don't worry, it will evaporate out.
see above

about 3 - 31/2 quarts of sauce