Caruso Sauce

by Michelle Caruso Walker

(I’ve made a few updates, but feel free to go with what feels right <3)

History: My nonna, Maria Caruso, taught me this recipe. She learned this process when she was a young girl in southern Italy. (I have made some adjustments to make it my own. Feel free to do the same)


  • Olive oil
  • 2 lbs Meat (I prefer hot Italian sausage and stew meat- it also tastes good without meat if you are entertaining for some vegetarians. When I do, I add extra mushrooms and some red or green bell peppers)
  • 1 package of baby bella mushrooms (if you like them)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Spices (fresh* or dried)- oregano, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, 1 bay leaf)
  • 4 28 oz cans of whole peeled tomatoes (or if you are canning your own veggies, use those!)
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 peeled potato
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Parmesan cheese to grate
    *If using fresh spices use less, if dried, feel free to use a little more each time


1. In a large Creuset style pot, brown meat in oil, then remove from pot

2. Turn down the heat and add chopped onion, garlic and mushroom to the oil (if needed, add another glub of olive oil)

3. Add a shake or two of all seasonings and the bay leaf, then let the onion, garlic, and mushroom cook down

4. Add meat back to the pot and puree each can of whole peeled tomatoes (4) and add to the pot

5. Re-season with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and parsley

6. Add the peeled potato to the pot (it’s supposed to absorb the acid)

7. Let the sauce cook on your stovetop for an hour or two, re-season when you check and stir

8. When the sauce cooks down a bit, after roughly two hours, remove the potato and add a teaspoon of baking soda, stir (expect some fizzing and then it will die down)

9. Add cheese (as much as you want to grate- I use at least one cup… or two cups)

10. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste

11. Re-season and let the sauce cook for about another hour, stirring occasionally

12. Taste and add anything you think the sauce needs (more cheese? more oregano? more salt? You decide)

When it looks good to you, wait about 30 more minutes and then serve on the pasta or base of your choice (we have used broccoli rabe if we are out of pasta)

And that’s about it! Enjoy!

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