My senior year of college is when my love affair with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and wine began. I was dating a girl that was one hundred percent, ancestors straight off the boat, Italian-Catholic. During the couple of years I was in the picture, my exposure to all things Italian resulted in me gaining fifteen pounds till we broke up in the short term and habitually making sauce on Sundays in the long. The serendipitous timing of when all this occurred happened to be at the height of a certain New Jersey family that was infiltrating homes everywhere Sunday evenings. The family dinners I attended consisted of massive amounts of ungodly amazing dishes, watching football/basketball while drifting in and out of a food coma only to be awakened to eat more again. Coffee, cannoli and cards preceded Gandolfini and Co. and if a game happened to coincide with the show, it lost priority instantly at 9 pm. The bags of food sent home with me would feed me for the entire week, stuffed with containers of vodka pasta, gnocchi, eggplant parmigiana and mushroom risotto, the very notion still makes me salivate to this day.
The experience, influence of those family dinners resonates now in how most of my weekend’s end, making sauce with nefarious activity on the big screen playing in the backdrop. Below is my recipe for marinara and some tips on how to go about your Sunday dinner from my favorite wise guys through the years. Salute.
Shopping-My Blue Heaven
I still chuckle anytime I see arugula in the grocery store. “It’s a vegetable…”
The description of Pauly’s very good system for garlic is enough to make anyone in the mood for Italian, if they weren’t already. “Medium rare…. hmmm, an aristocrat.”
Started dunking my bread religiously after this scene. “Che successe successe. Fuck it.”
Dinner Etiquette-The Sopranos
Love the move of sending over a bottle after checking up some mannerless asshole. Classy. “They don’t sell hotdogs here; they took the bleachers out two years ago.”
Only ten seconds into his toast during the mafias most sacred ritual, Leotardo loses his shit with an epic rant of gangster profanity. “Phil, you know the wine makes you emotional.”
Vaughn’s character is correct in his statement, and everyone involved with this scene especially Favreau who is half Italian and wrote it, should be ashamed of themselves. “It’s on the arm.”
1- 28 oz can tomato, 1 can tomato paste, 1 white onion, 1 green pepper, sausage beef or pork, 1 cup of red wine, fresh basil, minced garlic. Brown the meat before adding the rest, do not strain the grease. Low heat, longer you keep the sauce on the better the flavor will be and don’t forget what Ray Liotta said about stirring.