On my recent trip to Australia my mum finally taught my sister and I the secret of Salsa della Nonna. This is the pasta sauce not only our childhood, but hers and her mother’s too. Notebooks in hand, we hung on every word of direction so we could replicate it ourselves. Our family’s Salsa della Nonna is a two course feast … first the pasta with rich meat sauce and then the large joint of meat which as been slow cooked as part of the Salsa della Nonna is carved and served with vegetables alongside.
Now of course being the Salsa della Nonna, I am sworn to secrecy regards all elements of it’s preparation. However, what I want to write about is the warmth that accompanies this dish.
Most Italian families have a Salsa della Nonna. They are all very different but also very similar. Each family has different things they put in the pot to make their sauce unique, but each and every one is infused with a very specifc love and the memory. The evocative nature, not only of the smell, but the taste, the textures, all feels like family. For me, each mouthful is re-assuring in the way it brings on floods of memories of family sat around the table and sharing from great central plates of food.
The joy of a good sauce is most famously shared by Martin Scorsese in Goodfellas. I only have to think of this scene and I start drooling.
(You’ll have to click the link to get there as there are embedding restrictions on it)
So now that my sis and I have been taught, both M and I are happy that I’ll be able to make my Great Grandmother’s sauce here in London. But, I’m sorry to say the secret of the sauce is going to have to stay with me … hopefully I’ll never need it in prison.
I’d love to hear about any of your memories of your old family favourites … do share!