Written by Carol Hunter from her Nana, Sophrina Nigro Nastri’s recipe, and dedicated to my Influence sisters. I will cook for all of you one day…
~Start with a large saucepan or deep pot. Sometimes, depending on how much sauce I am making, I have to use two very large pots.
~Pour in enough olive oil
~Brown one very large onion, thinly sliced, and add chopped fresh or dried garlic. Take onions and garlic out when they are browned, set aside for later.
~Keep the olive oil from the onions in the pot and add more if needed. Put in a very large pot roast (or 2 or 3 pot roasts) cut up in chunks. Follow the natural fat lines of the roast for cutting up the meat.
~If you uses more than one roast as I always do, then you have to brown them in batches and set aside the browned chunks of meat with the onions.
~Brown all sides of the roast chunks until dark brown. Keep the bottom of the pot as it is with the browned meat juices.
~Turn heat down and add back in all of the meat, the browned onion and garlic.
~Add in 2-4 large cans of crushed or chopped Contadina tomatoes.
~Add 1-2 cans of Contadina tomato paste plus add two cans of water, decide later if you need to add more water, but don’t add too much early in the cooking.
~You can add wine if you wish. I never do and Nana never did, but some people today do.
~Add salt, pepper, oregano, basil and Italian spices. Use more than less.
~Grate two large carrots directly into the pot after all the above are in.
~Add sliced mushrooms from the jar or if fresh, that you have sautéed beforehand.
~Add in a fourth or a half cup of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated or from the Kraft jar, either is okay. This cooks right along with the sauce.
~Let the entire pot full of the sauce with meat come to a boil. Stir it now and then while it comes to a boil.
~Then, turn down the heat and let it simmer for 6-8 hours, stirring often throughout the day.
~It is done when the sauce is thick, brownish-red and when the meat is falling apart. The sauce is not done unless the meat falls apart when you pick it with a large fork.
~Serve the sauce and meat chunks over medium size pasta shells. Cook the shells in hot salted water to which some olive oil has been added. Take care not to overcook the pasta shells, they need to be chewy and not too soft.
~Add some grated Parmesan to the top of the large bowl full of pasta, sauce and meat.
~Serve with a small bowl of the sauce and a platter of extra meat.
I use from 6-8 pounds of beef for a dinner for ten people. This makes enough sauce for two meals. It is always even better the next time. And the whole thing including the pasta, freezes well and can be re-heated weeks to months later!
I learned this recipe from my maternal grandmother and my mother. I called my Mother’s Mother Nana, but her name was Sophrina Nigro Nastri. My Mother was Eshter Nastri Chewning.
Today, I am Nana to my grandchildren. They and my children and husband Terry, all wait eagerly for Nana’s sauce whenever I make it.
Thanks for asking for the recipe. This is what I call the Emergenetics Yellow version of the sauce. I wrote it down for the first time in 2002. Please tell me when you cook the Sauce and how you enjoy it.
Love, Carol Chewning Hunter aka Nana.
-wine is not an option in this household
-I could not find Contadina at my local market.
-I used my fresh pasta
-This is INCREDIBLE. You must try it.
- ¼ C. olive oil
- 4 Lb. chuck roast
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 4 28 oz cans of chopped tomatoes
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 6 oz water
- 1 C. red wine
- 2 carrots grated
- 1 t. red pepper, oregano, and Italian seasoning
- 16 oz pasta shells
- ¼ C. Parmesan cheese
- 3 T. fresh basil
- Brown the onions and garlic in the olive oil and remove. Sear the meat in the olive oil. When the meat is brown add the onions back into the pot.
- chopped tomatoes
- tomato pate
- Parmesan cheese.
- Let it come to a boil and then simmer for 6-8 hours until the meat falls apart. Occasionally stir the mixture. (if you want the sauce to be thinner, add more water) add fresh basil 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve over large or medium pasta shells. Cook pasta according to the directions on the package.
- Top individually with grated Parmesan cheese.