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  • Writer's pictureBobbi Jo Lathan

The Brescia Family Rich Tomato Sauce

This is a recipe handed down by Deprise’s Great Granddaddy, who was the first

generation to become citizens of the United States of America. As you may have

guessed from her last name, her ancestors were from the wonderful and

picturesque town of Brescia, Italy. Deprise’s Granddaddy taught her Daddy how

to make his wonderful, rich tomato sauce from scratch, and her Daddy carried on

the tradition by handing it down to his favorite daughter, Deprise. (Oops! Don’t

tell her sister April I said that!)

Like with most American families, their recipes have changed in the decades, with

people not having big vegetable gardens and as new innovations in canned

products and appliances came onto the market. Her Granddaddy, as his father

before him, made his own tomato paste by peeling fresh, whole tomatoes which

he chopped by hand, along with the freshly chopped green chili peppers from his

garden. (All, of which, you can certainly do if you wish! OR…just use your handy

little food processor.) However, Deprise’s Daddy, Joe, who was busy working to

support his young family during the 70’s, needed to free up all his prepping time

and did so with canned green chilis (which give it a nice subtle heat), a blender for

chopping, and really good tasting varieties of tomato paste. But, don’t freak out

with the cook time, as the pot of sauce is only on “simmer.” So, you can go about

your daily activities and chores around the house and not worry about over

cooking. Essentially, you’re allowing your pot to do all the work for you!

This wonderful, rich tomato sauce can be served over spaghetti, or in a lasagna

meat sauce, on a meatball sub, or even like I made it, over some freshly made

spinach and Ricotta ravioli. Now, if you don’t have a huge Italian family, don’t

despair with any leftover sauce, (because this recipe makes a lot of sauce!) as it

freezes beautifully. Just put your leftover sauce in a container and throw it in your

freezer to enjoy for a quick dinner at a later date.

So, thank you, Deprise Brescia, for your delizioso Great American Gal family


The Brescia Family Rich Tomato Sauce

Recipe by: Deprise Brescia + family

Recipe type: Sauce

Cuisine: Italian

Serves: 6


15 mins


2-3 hours


3 hours, 15 minutes


1/3 cup olive oil

2 cloves fresh garlic (chopped)

3 yellow onions (peeled and diced)

1 four-ounce can of chopped green chilis (Her Daddy likes Ortega brand)

6 six- ounce cans tomato paste (yes…I said six!)

1 yellow, or orange or red bell pepper (chopped)

4 stalks celery (cleaned and chopped)

1-2 teaspoons sugar

½-1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½-1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves (or crush dried oregano with fingers and add)

1 teaspoon fresh basil (chopped or torn)

½ teaspoon fresh thyme

2 bay leaves (broken in half)


  1. Get out a big spaghetti pot or your Dutch oven. (a heavier pot works best) Add the olive oil to the Dutch oven or pot and heat the oil over a simmer setting. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion, garlic, celery, bell peppers, and diced green chilis. (And, yes, the pot will be pretty full of vegetables.) Then, add in the salt, black pepper, thyme, oregano, bay leaves and basil. Stir it all together to well coat all the vegetables and spices with the olive oil. Now, put the lid on the pot and let this simmer for about 1 ½ hours. (Everybody’s stove top cooks a bit differently, so you can check it after one hour and give it a stir.)

  2. After about 1 ½ hours, remove the lid and add the tomato paste. After adding the paste, add equal amount of water (32-ounces) and gently stir together the softened vegetables with the tomato paste and water until nicely blended. Lastly, stir in the sugar, place the lid back on, and let that simmer for another hour and a half.

  3. NOTE: Everyone’s stove top cooks at different heats, so if you don’t have a simmer setting, just use your lowest setting. You want the vegetables to more “sweat” than “sauté. Also, if you feel the sauce needs more salt or pepper, to your taste, help yourself. I added a tiny bit more sugar to cut the acidity. Other than that, it was great!

  4. Now serve up your beautiful hot Rich Brescia Tomato Sauce over your favorite pasta, or ravioli, or lasagna. Mangia!



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