Fake Sauce: Sugo Finto

Finto means fake, so this is a "fake" sauce: It originated with farmers who wanted the body and heartiness of a regular red sauce but couldn't afford the meat. The chunks of onion, carrot, and celery provide the meat-like texture, while the use of red wine gives it added color and depth. Of course, for all you vegetarians, lack of meat may make this more "real" for you than "fake"!
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 55 min
  • Yield: 4 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 red onion, roughly chopped

1 carrot, roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, roughly chopped

1/3 cup red wine

1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes (pelati)

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley, plus more for garnish

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onions are soft and golden, just before caramelization. Add the red wine and stir well. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the pungent smell of alcohol is gone. 
  2. Add the tomatoes and break them down roughly with a wooden spoon. Add the 1 tablespoon parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes until the sauce thickens and the flavors blend. 
  3. Toss with 1 pound of just-cooked pasta and serve garnished with more parsley and grated Parmesan.

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