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Recipe by Matt Gardner, owner of Bronx Pizza, Hillcrest.

Every Sunday is pasta day, so that’s probably my favorite thing to make. I make my traditional pasta sauce with sausage. I start it in the morning because you gotta let it simmer all day. Usually it’s my wife and six-year old daughter for dinner, and my in-laws from Mt. Helix come every other week. Nicky “Shoes” Cotrona used to always come for pasta when he was alive. He was originally from Calabria, Italy, and taught me everything I know about pizza. A lot of the recipes at Bronx Pizza are his. He was a character from back when there really were characters. I miss him. Fat Tommy used to come too, but he got into all kinds of trouble. He got into so much trouble in San Diego that he had to go back to New York. My brother is visiting from New York. He’s a homicide cop there, and he’ll be here for dinner on Sunday. We’ll have a riot.



1/4 cup of olive oil
1 small onion
2–3 cloves garlic
mushrooms and peppers (optional)
2 cans (28 oz.) of whole peeled pear tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 cup of wine
salt and pepper to taste
1 T oregano
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Sausage (I usually get my sausage from Pete’s Sausage or Mona Lisa in Little Italy.)
12–16 oz. pasta (gemelli, rigatoni, or spaghettini)


It’s really basic. You start off in the morning and put olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and if you like, add some mushrooms and peppers. Then I stir in two whole cans of peeled pear tomatoes and one small can of tomato paste. Mix well. Add in the wine, salt, pepper and oregano. Then stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted. Really, you can add in whatever you have in the fridge. Let it simmer all day long in a covered pot or skillet.

To cook the sausages, add them to a large, heavy skillet over low high heat. Let cook for 5–7 minutes on each side before turning them, or about 20 minutes total. While sausages are cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and dress with sauce. Top with sausages, and serve.

To get an online version of this column, go to sdreader.com. You can print it, email it to friends, and get other recipes from different local chefs.

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