Nonna’s pasta sauce

For my first FOC post, I thought it would be appropriate to share a staple of the Orsini family.  For years, our entire family would gather for a simple Sunday dinner at Nonna’s.  The dinner consisted of pasta with tomato sauce, meat, salad and home brew wine.  Here’s my favorite adaptation of this versatile sauce.


2 700ml bottles of crushed strained tomatoes
6 fennel italian sausages
1 cured salami, cut into 1″x2″ cubes
1 yellow onion, halved
2-3 garlic cloves, whole
1 large carrot, halved
2 tbsp of olive oil
pepper to taste

prep made easy


In a heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil on high.  Before the oil starts to smoke, throw in your sausages whole and lightly brown on all sides.  There is no need to fully cook the sausages at this time.

My choice of meats. Can also be done with homemade meatballs or veal ribs.

Add cured salami pieces, onion, carrot and garlic. I usually cover the pot and stir vigorously over the element to get all the ingredients sweating.  After 3-4 minutes, empty both bottles of tomatoes into the pot.  Fill one of the empty bottles 3/4 of the way with water, swish it around to capture any remaining sauce, empty it into the second bottle and finally, dump into the pot.  This should cover the meat and veg fully.  Give it a good stir and bring to a boil.  Once the sauce is boiling, reduce to low, cover (leaving room for steam to escape) and let simmer for approximately 45-75 minutes.  Nothing can describe the aroma that fills your home as the sauce simmers.

Either works but crushed/strained are my favorite for convenience.

The last step is to remove all veggies and meat from the sauce.  This would be the time to taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  In this version, it isn’t necessary to add any salt at all.  The cured salami and tomatoes release enough salt already.

The sauce can be served with fresh or packaged pasta of choice.  Meat is traditionally removed from the sauce and served separately at the table.  It can also be portioned out and frozen for a quick and tasty dinner later in the week.







6 responses to “Nonna’s pasta sauce”

  1. Shannon Avatar

    Nicely done, Jordi! We have this for dinner once per month — the best pasta sauce I’ve ever had (and, dare I say it, better than when Nona makes it!)

  2. Aldea Avatar

    Great post Jordi! Excited to learn more of your family’s recipes. Do you usually serve the veggies separately as well or throw them out or?

  3. leon Avatar

    I had this for the first time on Sunday and I am going to make it this week. Good think I bought that cured salami.

  4. jordi Avatar

    Thanks! Aldea – you just throw them out.. no one needs to eat a tomato braised onion and carrot… Lol. Next post tonight.. this one was two fold but took longer than anticipated.

  5. […] the gnocchi have risen to the top (approx. 60-90 seconds). Transfer to a serving dish and mix in Nonna’s pasta sauce and a generous amount of grated romano cheese and fresh ground pepper to taste. The final product […]

  6. Shorty Avatar

    Thanks Nona!

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