Cortopassi Recipes

Lala Ethel’s Sugo Genovese

Ethel Avansino was Dino’s “lala” (aunt in Genovese dialect), and a warm-hearted, cheerful person. Within the family, this hearty gravy reminds us of her renowned cooking. Serve with spaghetti, ravioli, or risotto. Very similar to a Bolognese type sauce as well.

Makes 12-14 servings.


  • 3 pounds shoulder or cross-rib roast
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dried Italian mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped carrot
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • 6 cups Tomato Magic®
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat oil in 8-quart saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add meat; brown on both sides, and remove from pan.
  3. Add onions and garlic to pan; cook until tender.
  4. Drain dried mushrooms (reserve liquid); add to onions with fresh mushrooms, bell pepper, carrot, and celery; cook until tender.
  5. Stir in Tomato Magic®, beef broth, reserved mushroom liquid (leave sediment behind), parsley, rosemary and thyme.
  6. Return meat to pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 3 to 4 hours.
  8. Serve meat on the side, or grind and add to sauce.
  9. Serve gravy steaming hot over spaghetti, ravioli, or stirred into risotto.
  10. Serve with spaghetti, ravioli, or use to make risotto.