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Spaghetti Sauce a la Tricarico

August 31, 2015

Spaghetti Sauce a la Tricarico

E:  Although this is a “spaghetti sauce” it’s technically more like a bolognese sauce, except it doesn’t come from bologna. My husband’s grandmother gave this recipe to my mother-in-law (MIL). Grandma likely learned it from her MIL who was a first generation Italian immigrant from Tricarico, Province of Matera, in southern Italy. After comparing marinara recipes from various sources, I learned that southern-Italy uses more ingredients than northern Italy.

This recipe uses more spices, and uses a mix of meat. I follow this recipe to a tea, but only on special occasions. If I’m cooking this for the two of us, I use healthier substitutes.  I’ll tell you the healthier shortcuts I’ve taken, but have left the original recipe in tact in case you want to try it.

This is something you can make for special occasions, or for feeding a large dinner party. My MIL uses store bought raviolis with spinach and cheese and tops them with this sauce. Alternatively, you can pour the sauce on top of spaghetti or angel hair pasta. Buy whole grains, and fortified pasta for a healthier choice.

You can make double the amount and freeze the remainder. You can unfreeze it and boil your favorite pasta for a quick dinner. As a busy woman, I find that very useful.

My husband will tell you my sauce is not as good as his moms. I wouldn’t expect anything different. He also says my mexican rice isn’t as good as my mom’s so there might be a pattern of bad cooking, or our moms are excellent cooks. I say it’s the latter.

Anyways, give this a try. I’ll post a more simple tomato sauce recipe next time, from northern Italy. You can see I used a skillet in this photo, but nowadays I use my Le Creuset.

This is one of those recipes where the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.


1 lb hot Italian sausage, without casing browned in oil with  (½ teaspoon of fennel seeds) (i skip this usually, unless it’s a special occasion)

1 lb of browned ground beef, fat drained off (i use ground turkey)

½ cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped green bell pepper

7 garlic cloves

½ teaspoon or less, red chilli flakes

2 (15 oz) cans contadina tomato sauce (you can also use ragu or prego sauce if you need to)

1 (8 oz) can of tomato paste

water or chicken stock

1 tsp sugar (i sometimes leave this out)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (i sometimes leave this out)

1-2 tsp oregano, crumbled

1 6 inch piece of rosemary (will be removed later)

1 celery stalk (will be removed later)

1 carrot sliced in big chunks (will be removed later)

1 cup fresh romano cheese

1 cup fresh parmesan




use your favorite pasta- angel hair, spaghetti, raviolis.


Brown the Italian sausage in a separate pan from the ground beef.

After you’ve drained the fat off from the browned beef, add onions, peppers, salt and pepper to taste and saute until the onions are softer.


Add garlic and and red chili flakes and saute for about 1 minute.


Add the tomato paste and sauce. Stir to mix paste in with the meat. Add chicken stock. Add sugar, balsamic vinegar, oregano, rosemary, celery, and carrot.


Bring to a boil then simmer for 1 hour. Turn fire off. Add cheese and let it melt with the heat of the sauce. Remove the celery, carrot and rosemary stick. Serve on top of your favorite pasta.


I would suggest boiling your pasta 40 minutes into simmering of the sauce. Drain the water from pasta, leave some for reserve if you want to later dilute the sauce more. Toss your pasta with a bit of olive oil, parmigiano cheese, salt and pepper. Mix everything together in a beautiful pasta dish and bring to table piping hot.

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