Its all in … La Famiglia


Good Morning and Happy FRIDAY! Where did this week go? It was a chilly start for us in Atlanta but I am still feeling warm and full from our Italian feast last night. Earlier in the week, I saw one of these…


And added this to our meal rotation..


Which is especially fun when you have this guy to help you cook….


We used Mario Batali’s recipe for the baked eggplant parm stackers and made a few modifications based on what we had on hand (shredded mozzarella  and panko bread crumbs vs their fresh counterparts). The eggplant turned out GREAT but I must say, the success was the sauce.


My dad’s family is 100% Italian so when the mood stuck to make a homemade sauce, I knew my Auntie Diane would be a great resource. Right before dinner time, I gave her a call and got the inside scoop. Most of the process is not an exact science (pinch of this, dash of that) and obviously the fresher the ingredients the better (Auntie uses homegrown tomatoes and fresh basil from her yard) but I must say this city girl came through! Here is what we did…

Sarah’s Family “Gravy”


  • 1 large can of whole, stewed tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • EVOO
  • Dried, crushed basil
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup of milk or half & half
  1. In a large pot (cast-iron if you have it…because you can transfer to the oven to heat) sauté onions, garlic and fresh basil in EVOO. Season with salt & pepper. ** if you were making this a meat sauce, now would be the time to add it in**
  2. Run tomatoes through a food processer or mix with immersion blender (which we don’t have) to break down. Only a few don’t want your sauce too fine
  3. Add tomatoes and paste to the onion & garlic mix and bring to simmer. Add sugar, crushed basil, bay leaves, and more salt and pepper (to taste) to the sauce, cover, and allow to simmer on low heat for an hour. If you are using a cast iron pan, you may also put it in the oven at 350 for an hour
  4. Before serving, stir in the milk or half & half…this will take the bitterness out of the tomatoes
  5. Serve over “macaroni” or as a feature in your favorite Italian dish
  6. Buon Appetito!



After dinner, we had a date with our DVR and a large cup of frozen yogurt. Perfecto!

What is your favorite family recipe?


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