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"Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements."--Marcel Boulestin

Sauce Matriciana (Red Spaghetti Sauce - Italian Mama's Style) Recipe

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This recipe for Sauce Matriciana (Red Spaghetti Sauce - Italian Mama's Style), by , is from The Getzen Family Recipes and Remembrances, one of the cookbooks created at We'll help you start your own personal cookbook! It's easy and fun. Click here to start your own cookbook!

Beverley & Rufus Getzen


¾ pounds pork neck bones
1/3 cup olive oil (divided)
1 can (3 cups) crushed tomatoes
1 can (3 cups) tomato puree
½ cup water
2/3 cup minced fresh onion (Vidalias, if possible)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1½ + teaspoon salt
3 + tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon paprika
1¼ pound smoked bacon, thick sliced

In a large pot, braise neck bones in 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil until well browned. Add tomatoes, tomato puree and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to slow simmer.

In a skillet, sauté minced garlic and onions in 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil for 12 to 14 minutes over low heat. In another skillet or in microwave, cook bacon until moderately crisp; drain. When cool, break bacon into 3/8 to 3/4 inch pieces. Add bacon, garlic and onions with oil to tomato mixture. Add other ingredients except mint. Cover and continue to simmer for another three to four hours, stirring about every 15 minutes. Taste. Depending on acidity of tomatoes, it may be necessary to add a little more salt or sugar.

About 10 minutes before serving, add fresh mint and stir. Remove neck bones, scraping any bits of meat clinging to them into the pot. Serve over capellini or thin spaghettini with a grated, well aged Romano cheese or a Parmesan-Romano mixture.

Number Of Servings:
Number Of Servings:
6 to 8
Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
When Beverley and I moved to Sixth Avenue in San Francisco, we learned that we weren't the only newcomers in the neighborhood. Just around the corner was a new Italian restaurant, Café Riggio, which soon developed a reputation as one of the city's best. For years, we ate at Café Riggio three or four times a month. On several occasions we noticed that Riggio's tomato sauce had an aromatic quality missing from others, more mundane sauces, and that it also had a satisfying depth to its flavor. One night when we were among the last half dozen customers to finish, John Riggio stopped by the table to chat, and we asked him the secret to his wonderful sauce. It was, John explained, his mother's traditional sauce, and he began to describe the process of making it. A lot of pinches of this and handfuls of that did not add up to what we thought was a recipe, but we did learn three things: 1) pork neck bones are a good source of marrow, which is essential to giving the sauce depth; 2) time, lots of cooking time, is required for the deep, hearty flavor to develop; and 3) a small quantity of mint, added shortly before serving, would carry the aroma of the tomatoes yards in front of the plate.

With these three hints, I experimented for weeks with several variations of tomato sauce - marinara, putanesca and Matriciana - until I had versions of each that I thought truly satisfying. This is one of them.




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