Cafolla Family Recipe: Sugo

As part of our quest to bring the authentic Italian experience to Ireland, we would love to share some of our family recipes with you. Great food is a huge part of Italian culture, bringing family and friends together.

A big part of our childhood was the amazing cooking of our Nonna, Iolanda Cafolla. Even here in Ireland she sourced the best products for an authentic Italian sugo for Sunday dinner. She had a special room just for storing Italian sausages! This sauce made with vegetables, tomatoes and pork steak is the perfect addition to your pasta. We often make a batch, pop it in the freezer and enjoy it at any time to make dinner time a little more Italian!

So, without further ado, I am thrilled to share this step-by-step recipe guide for your next dinner party meal (post-lockdown of course!). Andiamo!

We always like to start off by preparing the garlic, which you’ll need a lot of! Using a sharp knife, chop about 5 cloves of garlic as small as possible. As well as the garlic, you’ll want to slice 4 stalks of celery, 3 onions and 4 carrots thinly. I always find it best to prepare the vegetables before beginning to cook.

Cover the base of a large pot with olive oil. Sauté and season the vegetables with salt and pepper, until they soften slightly, then add the garlic to the pot, cooking until fragrant. When the vegetables have softened, add the pork steak, cut into thick cubes. It’s best, of course, to purchase this from the butcher and to have the fat removed, to enhance the meaty flavour of your sugo. You’ll start to notice the beautiful aroma filling your kitchen!

After browning the pork steak, add the Italian sausages to the pot and continue cooking. These won’t colour much while cooking, but make sure to cover them with the veg and continue stirring consistently. You want to keep it cooking at a medium high heat, ensuring not to burn the veg at the bottom. Another reason to continually stir the mixture of aromatic vegetables and meat. 

Next comes the passata, of which you’ll need one jar. A trick we like to use, is to add some water to the jar to ensure all of the tomato-y goodness gets into the sugo. In addition to this, you’ll need 3 tablespoons of tomato purée.

Then come the tinned tomatoes, from the foothills of Vesuvius, of course! 3 tins should do the trick.

Add about 3 teaspoons of Italian herb and chilli flakes (as much or as little as you want, depending on how much spice your family likes). Another trick for the perfect Sugo di Cafolla is to add the rind of Parmigiano-Regganio. Stir thoroughly to combine the ingredients.

Bring the pot to the boil, clamp on the lid and allow to simmer on a low heat for at least 2 hours. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and enjoy this sugo with whatever pasta you like, though traditionally we eat it with spaghetti. This sauce is perfect for a quick lunch on the go or for a classy dinner party. We guarantee that the whole family will love it, and who doesn’t love a bit of Italy in their home!

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil, or enough to cover the base of your pot
  • 5 cloves of garlic, diced 
  • 3 onions, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, sliced thinly
  • 4 carrots, sliced thinly
  • 3 tins of tomatoes
  • 1 jar of passata
  • 3 table spoons of tomato purée
  • 200g pork steak, with the fat removed
  • About 10 Italian sausages, cut in half
  • 3 teaspoons of Italian herbs
  • Between 1 and 3 tablespoons of chilli flakes, or none at all if spice is not your thing
  • 1 rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
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