Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sylvia's Spaghetti Sauce

Picture is from

I went into my neighbor's house the other day and was overwhelmed by the aroma of Picadillo simmering on the stove. Picadillo is a spanish dish of ground meat, olives, tomatoes, capers, raisins, onions, peppers, garlic and spices. You can find Picadillo at any local Cuban or Spanish restaurant around here. They make a good version at the Cuban Sandwich Shop in Tampa, but not the same as homemade.

I didn't grow up with a Spanish or Italian mother or grandmother, but I imagine the feel and smell of that kitchen is what childhood memories are made of. My neighbor sent a sample home with me. She couldn't find the Picadillo recipe but she shared her spaghetti sauce recipe with me. I am going to share it with you.

I told her I would probably never make it since they make very good commercial spaghetti sauce now and she said, "Just doctor it up. That is what I do." I still want to buy all the groceries and have her make me a Spanish feast. Her black beans do not taste like any I have ever tasted and I have a feeling her spaghetti sauce is the same.

My husband is prejudiced against garlic or I would just pay Sylvia to cook for us all the time. It is wonderful to have a neighbor with such a rich heritage that she shares with me.

Sylvia's Spaghetti

2 lbs. Italian Sausage
2 lbs. Cube Pork
2 1/2 lbs Ground Meat (for meatballs)
2 Large Cans of Whole Tomato
2 Large Cans of Tomato Puree
2 Large Cans of Crushed Tomato
2 Large Yellow Onions
1 Green Pepper
1 Red Pepper (use about 3/4)
8 Garlic Cloves (one small head)
5 Bay leaves (small)
6 Fresh Basil leaves
Olive Oil
1 Cup Red Wine
4 Tbls. Brown Sugar
Salt (cover top of sauce)
Pepper (cover top of sauce)
Oregano (cover top of sauce)
1 Carrot (grated and peeled)
1 Zucchini (grated and peeled)

Cook the Italian Sausage directly into the pot that will cook all the sauce, approximately 15 minutes. Remove Italian Sausage leaving the drippings in the pot. Add the Cube Pork and cook approximately 15 minutes or until brown. Remove the Cube Pork leaving the drippings in the pot. Chop the Onions, Green Pepper, Garlic and Red Pepper. Add the chopped vegetables, shredded Carrot and the Olive Oil to the pot and simmer until the vegetables are clear. Open all cans and add one at a time, while stirring. Add Brown Sugar, Pepper, Salt and Oregano to taste (again measure by covering the top of the sauce). Add the Bay leaves and fresh Basil leaves. Continue stirring. Add Wine and grated Zucchini. Continue stirring and tasting to adjust spices as needed. After one hour of cooking, slowly add the Meatballs by pushing them into the sauce. After you have added the Meatballs, limit stirring or the Meatballs will breakdown. Continue cooking for another hour. Total cooking time should be only 2 hours on low to medium heat. Sauce should be bubbling and you should stir frequently. Do not cover or over cook (will turn watery if over cooked.)
2 1/2 lbs of Ground Meat
2 Eggs
1/3 cup of Evaporated Milk
Sprinkle of Romano or Parmesan Cheese
2 Garlic Cloves
1/3 Green Pepper
1 small Yellow Pepper
Bread Crumbs
Place the eggs, onion, green pepper and garlic, cheese and evaporated milk in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the blended ingredients to the ground meat. Mix with hands and slowly add the breadcrumbs until firm in texture. Roll into small meatballs to add to the sauce.


  1. This sounds fabulous! Keep bugging her for more recipes. You have made a big mistake letting me know about your neighbor. I'll be asking for all kinds of recipes from you guys. Thanks for this one.

  2. Beverly, A good excuse for me to pick her brain. I have been threatening to do it for years.

  3. oh boy..this does look good...i am adding it to the list....