Sughi e Salse

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Ragù Toscana (Tuscan Style Meat Sauce)

Makes: 4 Servings


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of Italian parsley
  • 170 g (6 oz) total of: ground beef, pork or veal, mixed with some chopped bacon or pancetta OR 170 g (6 oz) of Italian sausages, split open
  • 2/3 to 1/2 cups of tomato passata or canned plum tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • salt and pepper

1.  Finely chop the onion, carrots, celery and parsley.

2.  In a pan, using medium heat, heat the olive oil and cook chopped vegetables until soft.

3.  Add the meat, mix everything together and cook over a low flame until the meat changes colour.

4.  Add the passata (or canned or fresh). Less tomato lets the meat flavour come through more strongly, while more tomato gives it a blended taste.

5.  Simmer gently for half an hour and season with salt and pepper. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more olive oil or tomato sauce, never add water as it dilutes the taste. Now if you want pasta, cook the pasta in a large pot and cook until al dente. Add the meat sauce, stir and serve. Sprinkle with grated parmigiano.  The sauce is also perfect for lasagna and with polenta

Salsa di Pomodoro (Basic Tomato Sauce)

Makes: 2 cups


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 500 g (2 cups) tomato sauce or passata, unsalted
  • 1 tsp fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and ground pepper to taste

1.  In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic starts to colour but not browned.

2.  Add the tomato passata and stir. Raise the heat to medium and add the basil and oregano.

3.  Bring to a simmer, lower heat and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Let cool slightly before using on pizza or use directly on pasta.

Salsa verde (green sauce)


  • 200 g (7 oz) dry Italian bread, cut into smallish pieces
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 anchovy (or 1 tsp anchovy paste)
  • 1 egg, hard boiled and cut into 4 pieces
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Place dry bread pieces in a bowl with about 1 cup of water and the vinegar and let sit for 20 minutes. Remove from the bowl, squeezing to remove excess water.  Blend the soaked bread, parsley, garlic, capers, anchovies, hard boiled egg, and a bit of salt, slowly adding the olive oil until the sauce reaches preferred consistency.

Maionese – Mayonnaise


  • 1 very fresh egg
  • Salt
  • Lemon
  • About 1/2 cup of fresh vegetable oil

Best to start with ingredients at room temperature. Cover the egg in its shell with hot water to warm it briefly. Place egg, the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt. Start the blender at a medium speed, and add about third of  oil in a constant drizzle. Continue to blend adding the remaining oil until the mixture thickens. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a covered jar for 1 to 2 days. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Salsa rosa


  • 1 homemade mayonnaise recipe, see above
  • about 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp rum

Combine the mayonnaise with the ketchup (the ratio is about 2:1) and a tsp of rum. Mix for 2 minutes to blend well.

Burro alla Erbe – Herb Butter Dipping Sauce


  • 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon blend of fine herbs, such as rosemary and thyme
  • Dash hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco

Combine all of the ingredients and mix well.

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