Straight out of ‘Goodfellas’, the Little Italy Root Pasta Sauce Recipe


This is the pasta sauce the guys made in prison in the classic Martin Scorsese movie

One of our town librarians, Ann Gordanier, thought this pasta sauce recipe was ideal for sharing. This is his son Brett’s version of the classic pasta sauce featured in the Martin Scorsese film, Goodfellas.In presenting his recipe, Brett writes, “Remember that scene from Goodfellas“Where did the guys make gravy in jail?” They cut the garlic with a razor blade so fine it melted in olive oil and they warned never to put too many onions in the sauce.

You can browse the web and find many versions of Martin Scorsese’s prison sauce… but this recipe is true to Scorcese’s New York City roots in Little Italy.

On the Men’s health in 2016, writer John Gilpatrick explained that the recipe actually came from Scorsese’s mother, Catherine, who at the beginning of the film played the role of Joe Pesci’s character’s mother, Tommy Devito. Scorsese’s father, Charles, also appears in the film as one of the inmates, Vinnie.

Here is the recipe as Brett presents it.


Remember the number Three

  • 3 small red onions – keyword, Small
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 cans of San Marzano tomatoes (absolutely no substitutions!)
  • 3/4 cup beef broth, heated
  • 3 hot Italian sausages
  • 3 medium Italian sausages
  • 3 basil stems – If you leave the stems whole, they are easy to remove before serving. If you want to tear off the leaves, expect them to stay in the sauce.
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 medium carrot, cleaned, peeled and cut into 3 pieces

Good Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to grate on pasta

Good olive oil


A large stockot, a sharp razor, a wooden spoon, a measuring cup, a good chopping knife and a cutting board.

(As for the razor blade, which certainly makes the sauce authentic to the film, John Gilpatrick made this observation: ” Mom ScorseseS’s recipe doesn’t call for razor-sharp garlic – Martin may have taken this idea from his lemon chicken recipe. Although I quickly discovered why razor blades are nott kept in most kitchen drawers. Unless you want to nick your fingertips half a dozen times, just use a chef’s knife.

If you want paper thin garlic slices, grab the razor blade and go… very, very carefully. They are your fingers, after all, and so it’s up to you!)

Brett explains that “For this recipe you will need a minimum of 4 hours of simmering. The sauce should be stirred every 15 minutes or so. Don’t even think about trying this recipe unless you can simmer for at least four hours.«


Brown the sausages in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Remove from the pot and set aside.

In the same pot, add another tablespoon of olive oil, then wait for the onions.

Add the garlic and tomato paste, then add the wine and deglaze the pan until the wine is completely absorbed.

Add three cans of San Marzano tomatoes, then return the sausages, add the hot beef broth, basil and carrot.

Bring to a low boil, then simmer for at least four hours, stirring every fifteen minutes or so.

(If you want to freeze the sauce, Brett suggests removing the sausages and freezing them separately. He leaves the sausages whole, which would definitely make freezing easier. You might consider cutting them into sections when serving.)

Brett suggests using penne or rigatoni for the pasta. When ready to serve, add a few spoonfuls of pasta sauce, then top each serving with sauce. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste and enjoy!

And now the wine. Brett likes to use a Wolf Blass Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia. While you can’t go wrong, my tendency would be to use a good Italian red with decent acidity. Here are some suggestions you should be able to find in the Vintages section of the LCBO.

As I was writing the last column, the Michele Chiarlo Le Orme 16 months Barbera d’Asti 2017, $ 15.95, from Piedmont, a wine that I really appreciate. the Passionate about wine suggests that “this juicy red opens with aromas of ripe dark-skinned berries, star anise and a smell of forest floor. Round, mellow and fresh, the flavorful palate offers ripe marasca cherry, cranberry, licorice and a hint of truffle alongside soft tannins. – 90.

Podere Don Cataldo Negroamaro 2017, $ 15.95, of Puglia won gold in Berlin in 2018 and is characterized by notes of red fruits and blackberry with hints of tobacco and forest soil, all on a silky entry, ending with a crisp acidity that would be excellent with Goodfellas pasta.

The Guinzano de San Gimignano Rosso 2016 tour, $ 16.95, is originally from the mountainous town east of Chianti, famous for its towers. The 2015 vintage was described by as if filling the palate with a full and mellow burst of dry cherry and blackberry flavor with a layer of savory herbs and a saline note emerging on the mid-length and delicious finish. – 92. I trust the 2016 to present just as well.

On the regular list you will find the excellent Carpineto Dogajolo Rosso Toscano IGT, $ 17, usually a blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and maybe Merlot. It has balance and structure with good complexity and will evoke cherry, cedar and leathery spices. If you haven’t tried it yet, don’t hesitate.

There are other interesting wines on September 5the Vintage release to consider.


South Africa Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2019, $ 13.95, is made from grapes specifically grown to make a rosé. It has great depth, with good red cherry fruits and a crunchy minerality on the finish. It’s still very good and always a good deal.


Mater Soli Grillo 2018, $ 14.95, is another wine with a ‘superscore’ Luca Maroni – 97. The grapes are grown in western Sicily, where the influence of the sea on the vines has a stimulating effect. Vintages tells us this wine is “aromatic and fresh, with a well-defined peach and minerals alongside complex lanolin and chalk.” This reference to “lanolin” suggests a lush silky feel. This should be a terrific white to sip on or accompany seafood.

Decelle Côtes du Rhône-Villages white 2018, $ 15.95, made by the reliable firm Lavau is a blend of Marsanne and Viognier offering impressions of apricot and apple acidity. Vintages also tells us that it has a “characteristic minerality and an earthy component”.

Glenelly Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2018, 18,95 $, comes from the estate created by May de Lencquesaing, former owner of the exceptional Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Bordeaux. With it, anything but top quality is not an option. In its special report on South Africa, Tim Atkin explains “it’s textured, ripe and well balanced with nuances of tropical fruit, subtle wood and flavors of pear and nectarine. –92.


Portugal continues to amaze us with its quality and valuable dry red wines. Reserve chain 2014, $ 14.95, received a 91 speak Passionate about wines Roger Voss who said “this wine has a finely chopped texture with tannins and black fruits in good taste.rtions. It’s fromnse wine, likely to remain structured and richly powerful.

Spain The Scottish Ruffle Manga Del Brujo 2017 16,95 $. can boast of a “Parker” 90 for its red fruits, Mediterranean herbs, finesse, acidity and integrated freshness.

For 14,95 $, Vin Old Road The Anvil Shiraz 2018 South Africa is tempting. Vintages proposes that it “offers richly layered blackberry, cocoa and oak spices in a robust and structured frame, with a balance that allows it to rretain an elegant character. COVID-19[feminine[feminine had a very serious impact on the South African wine industry, which was practically crippled by government restrictions hampering production and banning sales, even for export. Who knows how our ability to buy and enjoy these wines will be affected in the coming times.

the Sartori Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2015, $ 29.95 celebrates the 120e anniversary. The wine displays a finesse that is not generally found in many Ripassos. It’s incredibly smooth with velvety tannins and a lingering aftertaste, making it a wine to certainly be enjoyed with beef, and even with roast salmon.


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