Thursday, December 13, 2007


Sunday nights were always special when I was growing up. That’s because it was “sketti” night. When I was nine, we spent Sunday nights at our house or the Robinsons. My brother and I loved Sunday nights. The Robinsons were childhood friends of my dad’s and had four children. Ed Sullivan was always on the tv and then Bonanza. Oh, Lordy! How we loved Little Joe. And usually we would have “sketti” for dinner. A thick, meaty, chunky, tomato-ey spaghetti sauce that had simmered for an hour or so on the back burner while we played outside, ran through the house, disrupted the parental cocktail hour ; then came in and flopped down in front of the tv. In January of 1964, the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan for the first time. And I do believe that’s the only time I ever stopped eating in order to watch a tv show. This recipe is a variation of one by Patricia Wells. It’s a grown up “sketti” that’s easy to make. Add a little Beatles on your stereo and you might be age nine again on a Sunday night surrounded by music, food, good friends and love.


1 pound ground chuck
4 oz prosciutto, chopped
4 oz pancetta, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 medium leeks, cleaned, white parts chopped
1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ cup minced sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
2 bay leaves
Large pinch dried French thyme
Large pinch dried Turkish oregano

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil
1 14 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup red wine

In good sized Dutch oven , do about three swirls of extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat over medium heat and add chopped leeks.
Sauté about 5-8 minutes, till soft and add celery, parsley, bay leaves, thyme, oregano and sauté 10 minutes

Add meats and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes, wine, sun dried tomatoes and cook on low for about an hour or longer, if you like.

Serve over thick hearty noodles, or rigatoni. A bright Arugula salad with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste would be a fine accompaniment.
In Italy, this sauce probably would not be served with Parmesan cheese. But I don’t live in Italy, so I say do what feels right to you!!!
This recipe is for you, Juan.


RHRB said...

Oh, my, I think I know now what we'll eat for dinner on Sunday! Sunday night was spaghetti night at my club in college, too, so it will bring back warm memories. Also, I have never tried a Patricia Wells recipe and have been wanting to. Thanks...

Mary Coleman said...

Once you try a Patricia Wells' recipe, your life will change. Do check out her "Trattoria" cookbook. It is one of the best!
Enjoy and thanks for coming by!!