Sugo finto
Preparation - Medium; Prep: 15, Cook: 60
2 - 3 Cups

This is said to be 'fake' sugo because it has no meat in it, but in fact I've never heard of a recipe that doesn't call for just a bit of carne secca, dried meat, in the form of prosciutto or pancetta, thus proving that Tuscans are such confirmed meat-eaters that even their vegetarian preparations are unthinkable without a little meat. You could leave the meat out and increase the amount of olive oil, but then you wouldn't have a sugo finto so much as a sugo vegetariano.

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, including leafy top, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz prosciutto or pancetta finely diced, or another 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2(1-pound) cans peeled tomatoes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 T slivered fresh basil
OO Skillet, pasta pot, sieve.

  1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, gently sauté the onion, garlic, celery, and parsley in the olive oil until the vegetables are soft but not brown.
  2. Stir in the prosciutto or pancetta, if using, turn the heat to medium-high, and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the meat dice just begin to brown.
  3. Add the white wine and cook vigorously until the alcohol has evaporated and the wine has reduced to a couple of tablespoons.
  4. Drain the tomatoes, reserving the juice, and add the tomatoes to the saucepan.
  5. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 45 minutes, crushing the tomatoes with a spoon as they cook down and adding a little of the reserved liquid if the sauce gets too dry.
  6. At the end of the cooking time, you should have a thick and fragrant sauce.
  7. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
  8. Away from the heat, stir in the basil.
  9. Serve immediately as a sauce for gnocchi, polenta, or any kind of pasta.

Note: This sauce freezes well; if you freeze it, omit the basil, adding it only when ready to serve.





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