Home MealsMain Dish Rosa’s Ultimate Homemade Meat Sauce for Pasta

Rosa’s Ultimate Homemade Meat Sauce for Pasta

by Adina 22/03/2018 13 comments

Italian ground meat sauce pasta

Rosa’s perfect meat sauce for pasta, the best Italian pasta sauce I have ever tasted.

This post is dedicated to Rosa, who used to write the blog For the Love of Italian Cooking. Sadly, Rosa passed away at the beginning of this month, leaving three small children behind and a lot of people who will miss her dearly.

Including me, I have known Rosa for less than two years, but our connection during this time has been strong. We’ve never actually met in person, although we had planned to visit each other in the near future, but we wrote very loooooong emails regularly, chatted on What’s app, visited each others blogs, recommending recipes and cookbooks to each other and so on.

A few weeks ago, on a Saturday evening, I was just checking my Facebook notifications and suddenly I had a large photo of Rosa in front of my eyes. I was used to seeing her posts regularly, she had many pictures of her sweet boys on Facebook and I had often taken the time to Like a picture or to look through her other photo albums. I knew the picture and just wanted to move on, but then suddenly the text caught my eye, three large letters at the beginning: RIP.

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I didn’t even realized at first what that meant, English is not my mother language and I needed a moment to realize what the abbreviation might stand for. The second thought was that somebody in her family might have passed away and that she wrote that RIP herself for somebody else. But then I read on and I realized that it was Rosa that had passed away.

I was so shocked I couldn’t stop shaking for half an hour, I think. I hastily read all the messages that people left on her Facebook page and was horrified to find out about the way she died, she was killed in an act of domestic violence by her own husband, who then apparently has killed himself. I do not know the details, I don’t even really want to know them, the truth is terrible enough as it is, I just cannot stop thinking about Rosa and about her children, who now have to face life with this burden upon them.

 

I thought a lot about Rosa during the past weeks, I have visited her blog and her Facebook page more than I have done it in all the years we have known each other before. She was such a warm and wonderful person, so full of affection even for people she only knew through the computer, so to say, and I think, when she was so full of trust in me, so full of affection for somebody she hadn’t even really met, how was she for the people in her family, in her life?

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I read the words people left on Facebook, especially those written by her cousin and they have only confirmed everything I thought I knew about Rosa, about her warmth, her good heart, her openness toward other people, her willingness to love them, to include them in her life, to have trust in them, even if she had actually just met them. And then, everybody talked about her love for cooking, for indulging the people she loved with great food.

I did not know her long, but I knew so much about her family, about her work, about the troubles in her life, about the difficulties she had with her husband. We talked about it and I did my best to support her with words, but I have never realized that things were quite as bad. I suppose one never does, until it is too late. I am left with the feeling that maybe I could have done something more to help, even if I have no idea what I could have done, we were both in Germany, but so far away that an actual meeting had to be carefully planned.

 

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I have been thinking a lot about domestic abuse and about violence against women as well lately. This has always been a sensitive issue for me, I grew up in a family where many men were violent, some only in words, but some physically as well. I was not physically abused myself, but I know a lot especially about emotional abuse that my grandmother had to put up with, about physical abuse that other women in my family had faced.

Not to mention all the other children I knew who talked about getting beaten regularly or about their mothers getting beaten regularly, it was not even such a big thing for us children to talk about such things, we felt them as if they were normal somehow.

This has influenced my emotional development as well, I was afraid of men when growing up and during my teenage years, I could not talk to men at all and after all these years and after having met my wonderful husband and the normal men in his family and his normal friends, I am still slightly uncomfortable around men. I cannot stand being alone with men I don’t know well, all the doctors I see are female (if I can help it), and I almost panic if I go for a walk in the fields around here and I see a man coming my way. It is crazy, I know it, but I cannot help it and I know where that comes from.

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Domestic violence, which occurs mostly as violence against women or children is still an issue even in the 21st century, even in countries like Germany, the UK or the USA, countries which put a lot of emphasis on gender equality, on human rights, children and women rights.

According to the World Health Organization “almost one third (30%) of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner in their lifetime”. And “globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner”.

Terrible facts and the most terrible thing is that although things are happening, things are not happening fast enough, each day there are more women, girls, boys suffering in an abusive family environment, everywhere in this world.

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Rosa’s Ultimate Homemade Meat Sauce for Pasta

This recipe was posted by Rosa in September 2016 under the name of Ultimate Southern-Style Italian Meat Sauce. I followed her recipe to the letter, I did not change a single thing, I wanted it to taste exactly as if Rosa has cooked it for us. And it was perfect, by far the best meat pasta sauce recipe I have ever made.

Rosa had the recipe from her nonna Rosa, who lived in Calabria, Italy. This is what Rosa said about this sauce: “What makes this sauce Southern style is that in Calabria, meat is always simmered in an abundance of pureed tomato. This is how I remember my mom and nonna Rosa preparing their sauces. A typical Northern sauce starts with a soffrito (a mixture of finely chopped/grated onion, carrot and celery), but in this recipe, finely diced onion is gently sauteed in olive oil. In my parents’ village, it was custom not to mix onions and garlic together in a tomato sauce (for some unknown reason), but I broke that tradition by adding both in mine.”

Rosa was an amazing cook, I have tried a few of her recipes and they were all amazing. Another one that I can totally recommend is the Tiramisu, a recipe that I have been making repeatedly ever since she emailed me her recipe.

She worked a lot and didn’t have much time to post regularly on her blog, which was pretty new as well, so unfortunately there are not many recipes she left behind, but I am determined to cook all those she posted, I really feel I need to. I cannot say if I will post all of them myself, but I will definitely cook them for my family and think of Rosa when I do that.

I am so sorry, Rosa, that this has happened to you and your children. Rest in peace, dear friend, I will always remember you!

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Rosa's Ultimate Homemade Meat Sauce for Pasta

Share this on WhatsAppRosa’s perfect meat sauce for pasta, the best Italian pasta sauce I have ever tasted. This post is dedicated to Rosa, who… Main Dish Rosa’s Ultimate Homemade Meat Sauce for Pasta European Print This
Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 500 g/ 1.1 lbs ground meat (half beef, half pork)
  • 125 ml/ ½ cup milk
  • 1 jar tomato puree (pasatta) 700-800 g/ 24 oz
  • 2 whole basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt and pepper
  • For the flavoring:
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • pasta or gnocchi and Parmesan for serving

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Fry the finely chopped onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground meat and break the lumps with a wooden spoon. Turn the heat high, add the milk and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the tomato puree. Give about 125 ml/ ½ cup water to the jar of pasatta, shake to clean the tomato sauce from the walls of the jar and give the water to the pot. Add the whole basil leaves, minced garlic, tomato paste and some salt and pepper.

Bring the sauce to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low, cover with a lid leaving it a bit ajar and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue simmering for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly.

Add the remaining olive oil, minced garlic and torn basil leaves to the dish while the sauce is still hot and stir well. Cover and let stand for a few minutes to allow the flavors to mingle.

Serve with pasta or gnocchi and sprinkle with Parmesan before serving.

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13 comments

Gabriela 22/03/2018 - 19:52

I am so sorry to hear about your friend! What a wonderful article to honor her life, her love for cooking and her legacy. I lost a friend as well due to domestic abuse and I do not think I will ever be able to get over the way she died. I will also remember her. She was a wonderful person, a very educated woman and a great friend. Domestic abuse is common, ugly and can touch any woman, no matter the level of intelligence, education or experience. It is so nice of you to write about Rosa and her experience. More people need to be aware and learn how to protect against violence in general! And her recipe is wonderful! Rest in peace, Rosa!

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Adina 22/03/2018 - 19:59

Thank you, Gabriela.

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maria 23/03/2018 - 04:00

Adina, I so sad to read this about Rosa.
As a Canadian-Italian food blogger, I felt an immediate “on-line” connection with Rosa… her recipes were flawless and you could sense her passion for cooking. We would exchange comments on our blogs. From the moment we connected, I sensed Rosa was a kind and giving person.
There really are no words…
I pray for her children to be strong and to have unconditional love and support…
Thank you for sharing Rosa’s recipes and keeping her memory alive.
I am truly sorry for your loss ♥

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Adina 23/03/2018 - 08:25

Thank you, Maria.

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Kate @ Framed Cooks 23/03/2018 - 14:31

Oh Adina, I am so very sorry. How incredibly sad, and what a loss. Thank you for sharing her recipe, and I will share it as well in her honor. xoxo

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Anca 23/03/2018 - 19:18

I’m sorry for your loss. I know how strange it is to know somebody (even if only online) and follow their blog… and then find out on facebook that they died. What a lovely way to honour her. I imagine she would have appreciate it.

Her story seems like a very sad one. I know what you mean about violence in Romania. I think that violence towards women and children is, sadly, more common that it should be. I didn’t have to face this issue in my family, but I knew about others, too many. Even so, it’s something I feel very strongly about, I had countless arguments with mothers about “bataia e rupta din rai”.
Maybe things change, with people going abroad and, hopefully, learning from those civilizations before returning. Maybe the new movies and the interconnection we have between us, narratives and ideologies will change. We can only hope.

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Dawn - Girl Heart Food 23/03/2018 - 19:49

So so sorry for your loss, Adina! That’s incredibly sad. Such a sweet way to honour your friend and such a comforting recipe. Thoughts are with you. Hugs.

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Monica 23/03/2018 - 22:03

I am shocked and saddened to read this, Adina. And I’m so very sorry about your friend. Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt post and for sharing your own experience. Domestic violence, gun violence, we can’t seem to escape from it everywhere we turn. My family and I are attending a march tomorrow against gun violence in schools and to march for change in legislation. These are sad times in many ways and I cherish the special moments around the table with my family.

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Denise Browning 24/03/2018 - 01:07

Nothing like pasta sauce from scratch. It makes any pasta dish shine.

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Sissi 24/03/2018 - 19:56

I think this is the best tribute anyone could have made to Rosa. I can sense through the photographs you have cooked it with love… I’ve never visited her blog, but the story is extremely shocking. At least she had your support…
I know the horrible statistics of women beaten and killed by men from their families, even in countries where in theory women have rights and places to go (such as Germany…). I know several women who are preparing for a divorce, going through it or already after it and I realise how awful the society (and families!) are to them instead of giving them support (particularly making them feel guilty about the children’s future with a single parent is most destroying and vicious!). Now wonder many stay in unhappy couples. I always tell them: think about you, be happy and your children will be happy too, but it’s easy to give advice of course…
Thank you so much for sharing your own feelings and experience. It was really touching….

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Zoë Gemelli 30/03/2018 - 19:23

Oh Adina, what an incredibly moving post about my beautiful cousin Rosa. I also found out on Facebook, which was unbelievably difficult to comprehend. She was every bit as amazing as everyone has said or written. She was a genuine person. She loved. She loved life, her kids, food, her extended family. And she loved me like no one else in my entire world. I’m beyond heartbroken. It’s unfathomable. We need to keep her food alive. Reminding us how precious life is. And of a beautiful person. Hugs from her cousin in Toronto. xx

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Adina 30/03/2018 - 20:17

Hi Zoe. I am so sorry for Rosa, I still can’t believe what happened to her and to her children, of course, it breaks my heart to think about them… I am sorry for you as well, for all your suffering, Rosa also told me about you, that you studied journalism and that you can write beautifully. I have been reading some of Rosa’s old emails lately and it hurts so much to read the words she wrote an year ago knowing what has just happened… it makes me wish I could turn back time and warn her. It’s strange, I have made her tiramisu at least 6 or 7 times after she gave me the recipe and it was always perfect, just like in the pictures she posted. But as I have tried to make it again recently (I wanted to post it), it failed both times… the biscuits kept floating in the mascarpone mixture… no idea why and I keep thinking that I cannot ask her anymore. I will try again, it was still the best tiramisu I have ever eaten.

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Zoë 31/03/2018 - 02:20

She was truly one of a kind. We are all shattered that this happened to her. She lived in fear for the last few years. Now we know just how bad it really was with him, sadly. We all tried. We all supported her. Domestic violence is complicated and messy.

Keep making her tiramisu. I haven’t made it in years, but I am planning to again soon. I’ll keep you posted. Are you using store-bought ladyfingers? The recipe she shared for making your own looks great, too. Hopefully yours will come back to you. Hugs.

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