Traditional Italian Sauce



  • ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and halved

  • ¼ pound piece spiced pancetta

  • 10 cloves garlic (5 pressed, 2 finely chopped, 3 cracked)

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 thirty-five-ounce cans plum tomatoes, pureed in a blender

  • 1 twenty-eight-ounce can tomato puree

  • 6 large fresh basil leaves

  • 2 medium lean beef cutlets (about 9 ounces each)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish

  • 4 to 5 links sweet pork sausage with fennel (about 3/4 pound)

  • 4 pork spare ribs (about ¾ pound)

  • ½ cup white wine

  • Meatballs With Eleanora Meatballs with Eleanora

  • 1 pound pasta, such as ziti, penne, or pennoni


  1. In a large saucepan, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add onion, pancetta, pressed garlic, and salt; saute; 2 minutes. Stir in pureed tomatoes, tomato puree, and basil. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 45 minutes. Remove and discard onion halves.

  2. Place beef cutlets on work surface. Sprinkle each piece with 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 clove finely chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon parsley, and 1 teaspoon cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Roll beef, and tie with kitchen twine.

  3. Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add cracked garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Place rolled beef, sausage, and spare ribs in skillet and cook until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add wine, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove browned meat from pan, and add to sauce along with meatballs.

  4. Add 2 cups water, and return to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

  5. Just before sauce is finished bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, following package instructions. Drain, and transfer to a large serving platter. Stir sauce to combine, and ladle sauce over pasta. Serve meats on a separate platter. Sprinkle cheese over pasta and meats.

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