Try an authentic sauce

A recipe taken from the credits of Martin Scorsese’s documentary ‘Italianamerican.’


Rarely do you get a recipe and a movie review in the same article. In the documentary “Italianamerican,” directed by Martin Scorsese, circa 1974, featuring Scorsese’s parents, Catherine and Charles, Catherine cooks her family recipe: Meatballs and Sauce. The Scorseses talk about their experiences as Italian immigrants in New York City, among other things, while having dinner at their apartment on Elizabeth Street. Scorsese’s mother shows how to cook her meatballs, a recipe featured in the credits of the film.

For a truly authentic and captivating “table talk” and sauce, try the recipe below, and take a gander at the 50-minute film. “Italianamerican” can be found on YouTube or on IMDb. You’ll want to watch it over and over, and don’t forget to watch the credits, where you will find Catherine’s mother’s recipe!

The sauce

Singe an onion and a pinch of garlic in oil.

Throw in a piece of veal, a piece of beef, some pork sausage, and a lamb neck bone. Add a basil leaf. When the meat is brown, take it out, and put it on a plate. Put in a can of tomato paste and some water. Pass a can of packed whole tomatoes through a blender, and pour it in. Let it boil. Add salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Let it cook for a while. Throw the meat back in. Cook for an hour.

Now make the meatballs. Put a slice of bread, without crust, two eggs, and a drop of milk, into a bowl of ground veal and beef. Add salt, pepper, some cheese, and a few spoons of sauce. Mix it with your hands. Roll them up, throw them in. Let it cook for another hour.

If the recipe feels ambiguous, it is by design, because, according to Martin Scorsese on “Jimmy Kimmel,“ “An Italian mother never really gives her complete recipe.”

“Buon appetito!” and “Mangiamo!”