Nonna’s Sugo Recipe – A Delicious Tradition from Italy


Year: 2024


There’s something magical about the aroma of a simmering pot of Nonna’s sugo, a traditional Italian sauce that has been passed down through generations. This rich and flavorful sauce is the heart of many Italian dishes, and it’s not surprising that it has gained popularity around the world. In this article, we will share the secrets of Nonna’s sugo recipe, allowing you to recreate this authentic taste in your own kitchen.

The Importance of Nonna’s Sugo

Nonna’s sugo is a staple in Italian households, and it holds a special place in the heart of every nonna (Italian for grandmother). This sauce is more than just a way to flavor pasta or meatballs; it’s a symbol of the love and dedication that goes into Italian home cooking. Nonnas take pride in their sugo, and it’s often a closely guarded family recipe, passed down from one generation to the next.

Nonna’s sugo is more than just a savory sauce; it’s a way to connect with our roots and honor our ancestors. By learning this recipe and sharing it with others, we become a part of a beautiful culinary tradition that spans centuries.

The Ingredients

Nonna’s sugo is made with simple, wholesome ingredients that come together to create a depth of flavor like no other. Here are the key ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The Cooking Process

Making Nonna’s sugo requires a bit of time and patience, but the end result is well worth it. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you recreate this authentic recipe:

Step 1: Prepare the Tomatoes

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Score the bottom of each tomato with a small “X”.
  3. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute.
  4. Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water.
  5. Once the tomatoes have cooled, peel off the skins and remove the seeds.
  6. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and set them aside.

Step 2: Sauté the Vegetables

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery to the pan.
  3. Cook the vegetables until they are soft and fragrant, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the red wine to the pan and simmer until it has reduced by half.

Step 3: Simmer the Sauce

  1. Add the chopped tomatoes to the saucepan.
  2. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces and add them to the pan.
  3. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Serve and Enjoy

  1. Once the sauce has thickened and the flavors have melded together, it’s ready to be enjoyed.
  2. Serve Nonna’s sugo over your favorite pasta, use it as a base for lasagna, or spoon it over meatballs.
  3. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Tips and Variations

While the basic recipe for Nonna’s sugo remains the same, there are some tips and variations that you can try to customize it to your taste:

  • If you prefer a sweeter sauce, add a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • For a spicy kick, add a dash of red pepper flakes or minced chili peppers.
  • Add cooked Italian sausage or ground meat to make a meaty sauce.
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices like oregano, thyme, or rosemary to create your own flavor profile.


Q: Can I use canned tomatoes instead of fresh?

A: While fresh tomatoes are preferred for the authentic flavor of Nonna’s sugo, you can use canned tomatoes as a substitute. Make sure to choose high-quality canned tomatoes without any added flavors or preservatives.

Q: How long can I store Nonna’s sugo?

A: Nonna’s sugo can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months for later use.

Q: Can I make Nonna’s sugo without wine?

A: If you prefer not to use wine, you can omit it from the recipe. However, keep in mind that the wine adds depth and complexity to the sauce, so the flavor may be slightly different.


Nonna’s sugo is a true taste of Italy, bringing warmth and comfort to every bite. By following this recipe and adding your own personal touch, you can recreate the flavors of Nonna’s kitchen in your own home. Whether it’s a special occasion or a regular weeknight dinner, Nonna’s sugo is sure to impress your family and friends with its authentic taste and rich history. So gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to create a sauce that will transport you straight to Nonna’s kitchen in the heart of Italy.

Key Takeaways

  • Nonna’s sugo is a traditional Italian sauce passed down through generations.
  • The ingredients for Nonna’s sugo include ripe tomatoes, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, red wine, olive oil, basil leaves, salt, and pepper.
  • The cooking process involves preparing the tomatoes, sautéing the vegetables, simmering the sauce, and serving it over pasta or other dishes.
  • Personalize Nonna’s sugo by trying variations such as adding sugar, spice, meat, or different herbs and spices.
  • Common questions include substituting canned tomatoes, storing the sauce, and omitting wine from the recipe.


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