The Best Pasta Sauce Ever……

While its very well known that I am not Italian (in fact, half Irish and half English), I think it is fair that I can make such an opinionated statement regarding a sauce, or  “gravy,” if you will.   First off, I have no biases towards other sauces.  I do not have an Italian grandmother to which I want to swear allegiance to her pot of bubbling deliciousness.  Rather, I have an Irish grandmother with a penchant for Stouffer’s frozen lasagna.   Some may exclaim that I do not have the Italian palate fit to judge such a claim.  Nonsense.  I have eaten my fair share of over-salted and preservative filled Olive Garden in addition to having my fair share of fresh, bright and luscious sauces in the North End of Boston.   I know a good sauce when I taste/smell/see one. 

My quest to make an amazing sauce started my junior year in college.  At this time I thought nothing of cracking open a jar of Classico and dumping it over generic brand noodles and calling it dinner.   One night I offered to host a spaghetti night for my sorority sisters.   They all groaned and said the only way that they would participate was if I nixed the stuff from a jar.    It was my turn to groan.  Every time I asked someone to share their recipe she said it was a secret family recipe that was impossible to share.  Finally, my big sister stepped up to the plate.  Coming from a close-knit Italian family she often invited me for dinners when going home to NC was just not an option.  She decided I could learn her “gravy” recipe.   From that moment, I was hooked.  I wanted to try cooking all sorts of sauces. 

One day while watching the Barefoot Contessa on the food network I watched an incredible sauce be built before my eyes.  Originally, this is a sauce made at Nick and Toni’s Restaurant in East Hampton, NY.  It had a magical color and I could almost smell it through my television.  Immediately, I knew I had to make this sauce. 

While I can wax on poetically about how good, creamy, rich and downright enjoyable this sauce is, that would get rather boring.  Instead, here is a picture for you to see the magical color on your own, and a link to the recipe.  Trust me, just this once, don’t go with Grandma’s secret recipe.  TRY IT. 

Nick and Tonis Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola

You can find the recipe here:

Nick and Toni’s Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola

P.S.  In case my opinion isn’t good enough, the Amateur Gourmet also did a post about this pasta sauce here: Amateur Gourmet’s Post on Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola


4 responses to “The Best Pasta Sauce Ever……

  1. If you want to make it even more special, sear a couple of sea scallops and toss them on top. (We first had that in the North End) YUM!

  2. Great idea! I will definitely try that next time – gotta work on that seafood resolution 🙂

  3. The picture of the above Best Penne Sauce is definitely one to be tried! It reminds me of my award winning Montana Chile. Would you like this recipe? I also have several goodie recipes from my Mom (the secret is in how she made the crusts)? Just let me know how to do this.

  4. Going to love reading this !!!!!

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