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“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

My son, Connor makes a delicious pasta sauce. The recipe is loosely based on a recipe found in the movie “The Godfather”. He made his first batch at age 13. I snapped this picture as he took it off the stove. It is our family’s most requested sauce recipe.

The following is an excerpt about Connor and his sauce recipe from my unpublished memoir, Comfort Food.

“Connor developed a passion for cooking.  It became a wonderful creative outlet for him.  He found a recipe for spaghetti sauce from one of his favorite movies, “The Godfather”.  When the family is “going to the mattresses”, Clemenza gives Michael a lesson in making sauce. Connor made it for us one Sunday.  It is quite good.  Jeff actually liked it better than my sauce. It became our standard family red sauce.  Across the bottom of the recipe card, Connor wrote a great line from the movie, delivered by Clemenza following a “hit” – “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”  This is so typical of Connor.  He has the uncanny ability to capture the essence of things in a subtle and often comical way. When I saw those words, I laughed out loud.  I will keep that card forever.”

“Fat Clemenza’s”/Connor’s Pasta Sauce Recipe

1 pound hot sausage links, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 pound lean ground beef

3 large cloves garlic, minced

2 – 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes

1- 12 ounce can tomato paste

1 whole onion, peeled

Pinch of sugar

Garlic salt, kosher salt and pepper to taste

1 to 2 Tablespoons oregano

12 ounces of water

1 ½ cups dry red wine

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

½ cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Brown the hot sausage in a large deep pot on medium heat. Remove the sausage from the pot and drain excess grease, leaving a small amount in the pot.  Add ground beef to the pot and brown. Return the sausage to the pot with the ground beef. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic. Cook for about 2 – 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, water, sugar, garlic salt, oregano, onion, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add cheese. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for an additional 2– 2½ hours.  Add basil and cook for another 15 minutes. Serve over pasta of choice. Serves 8 to 10.