By John Cirillo
Over the years “Chef Gianni” (that would be me) has perfected a Pomodoro sauce for pastas, complimenting chicken or eggplant parmigiana and for dipping that I’ve been told by many “rivals restaurants and Italian grandmas.” Watching the likes of such epicurean wizards as Lydia Bastianich, Mary Ann Esposito, and Nick Stellino on the airwaves hasn’t hurt, either.
On night, January 24, 2016, buoyed by Fairfield University’s basketball doubleheader sweep by the men’s and women’s teams, victories over Iona and Canisius, respectively, I officially tabbed the recipe as “Stags Red Sauce” in tribute to my favorite college varsity program, President Fr. Jeffrey von Arx, SJ, Athletics Director Gene Doris, head coaches Sydney Johnson and Smokin’ Joe Frager, and all the scholar-athletes.
Here is the simple but sumptuous recipe that is a three-point field goal, and a layup to prepare:
- Two 20-ounce cans of imported Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
- Four table spoons imported Italian olive oil
- Eight garlic cloves, crushed
- One tablespoon sea salt (or to taste)
- One tablespoon fresh ground pepper (or to taste)
- One table spoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- One table spoon granulated sugar
- Two table spoons fresh basil, chopped
- (optional) ¼ cup pitted calamata olives, chopped
Directions for preparation
- Sautee garlic in olive oil on medium heat until lightly browned
- Add tomatoes and bring to a boil
- Reduce heat to simmer
- Add remainder of ingredients
- Simmer for one-half hour covered
- Top with basil upon serving
Voila! There you have it, Stags Red Sauce, one for the ages!
The three favorite ways to serve this sauce are: 1. Over al dente spaghetti, especially accompanied by meatballs (we’ll save that recipe for another column); 2. Over fried chicken cutlet Milanese; 3. Dipping sauce for fried eggplant or calamari.