Godfather Pasta Sauce

Today’s entry for 12 Days of Oscar is not only inspired by its film, the recipe comes directly from the film.  The 1972 film, The Godfather, was nominated for 11 Academy Awards.  It won three, for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium), and Best Picture. Based on Mario Puzo’s novel, The Godfather depicts ten years in the life of the Corleone family.  Don Corleone (Marlon Brando), is the Sicilian head of a New York crime family struggling to balance his old world ways with the changing demands of the new ways.  His son Michael (Al Pacino) evolves from refraining from involvement with the family business to becoming the ruthless head of the Corleone crime family.

There’s a great scene in The Godfather where Clemenza (Richard Castellano), who’s possibly most remembered for the line “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”, shows Michael how to make pasta sauce, “because you never know when you’ll need to feed twenty guys.”  Director Francis Ford Coppola lent his own recipe to the film, and almost edited the scene out.  He decided to leave it in, figuring if the film was a flop, at least audiences would have a good sauce recipe.

It really is a great recipe.  As always, I suggest using a wine in the sauce that you would drink on its own, the flavor really does carry through.  It’s versatile in that you can use whatever type of canned tomato you like.  If you don’t like chunks of tomato in your sauce, use crushed or pureed tomato.  I used one can of whole tomatoes, gave them a rough chop, and a can of crushed tomatoes.  The sauce really is delicious, and while the film wasn’t a flop, I’m grateful this recipe didn’t end up on the cutting room floor.

The Godfather Pasta Sauce


  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 28 oz. cans of tomatoes (whole, crushed, or chopped)
  • 2 6 oz. cans tomato paste
  • 4 Italian sausages, grilled and sliced
  • 1 lb. meatballs (use your favorite recipe)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • dry red wine


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the tomatoes and tomato paste.  Cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes to combine until a relatively smooth consistency is reached.

Add the sausage and meatballs, stir to coat the meat.

Add a splash of the red wine, and the sugar.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occaisionally to prevent scorching.

Serve over pasta.

Serves 8-10.

Source: The Urban Possum


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