Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Clemenza's Spaghetti Sauce from "The Godfather"

Here is my version of Caporegime Peter Clemenza's spaghetti sauce. Clemenza tells Michael this is a nice pot of gravy to make if you have a crew go "to the mattresses." I saw the movie in 1978, years after it first appeared. Kevin Curran and I saw it at the Waverly Theatre in Greenwich Village. I have probably watched it thirty times since. The pasta sauce I make is almost always some variant of the sauce Clemenza teaches Michael:

Hey, Mikey, why don't you tell that nice girl you love her?
(then, in an exaggerated Italian accent)
I love you with all-a my heart! If I don't see you again soon, I'm a-gonna die! [laughs]
Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for twenty guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn't stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh?... And a little bit o' wine. An' a little bit o' sugar, and that's my trick.
SONNY (after entering the kitchen)
Why don't you cut out the crap. I got more important things for you to do.
How's Paulie?
Oh, Paulie? Won't see him no more...

Clemenza's Gravy
2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably Genco !)
4 cloves chopped garlic
2 cans whole Italian tomatoes
1 can tomato paste (and 2 cans of water)
2 teaspoons dried basil
a couple pinches of oregano
Three glugs of wine
Two teaspoons sugar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Sauteed sausages and meatballs

Sweat the garlic in the oil (do not brown it) in a large pot. After a minute, add the canned tomatoes and juice, the tomato paste, and a cup of water. Add three glugs of wine, the sugar, and the herbs. Bring to a slow simmer for ten minutes. Add a little salt and the pepper and the sausages and meatballs. Slowly simmer for 45 minutes or more...until the sauce is reduced and coats a spoon. Correct the seasoning. Cook spaghetti or linguini. Drain it. Now pink up your pasta. Put it in a bowl, add a couple of ladles of the sauce and toss with the pasta. Make sure it is nice and coated. Serve the rest of the sauce and the meats in a bowl for people to add to taste. Serve the pasta with freshly grated Parmesan, Romano or Pecorino, a simple green salad, crusty Italian bread and a bottle of Chianti Classico. . .


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