Thompson said she grew up in a family of Italian cooks. She said, “(Cooking the sauce) was all done by feel. My mother never left specific measurements of things.”
Thompson learned to cook from her mother who was a first-generation Italian. “My mother was a great cook,” Thompson said.
Her mother never wrote the recipe down. “My aunts are all great cooks. Between all of us, we kind of figured the recipe out,” she said.
Thompson, a retired ice skating coach, grew up in an Italian community in Chicago and moved to Marietta for work. She said, “The nostalgia of it all when I cook (the sauce) makes it special. I think of my mom. The key to the dish is love,” Thompson said.
She uses mostly fresh ingredients. “My mother canned her own tomatoes. That’s probably the only thing I don’t do that she did,” Thompson said.
The sauce with five types of meat in it is versatile. Thompson said it could be used for numerous dishes such as lasagna, spaghetti sauce or over chicken.
“I make a couple of batches each year and freeze it and have it on hand,” she said. “We love good food.”
Mama’s Italian Meat Sauce
4 mild Italian sausage (skinned) or 1½ lbs mild sausage meat
1½ ground pork
1¼ ground sirloin beef
1½ ground round beef
1½ ground veal
½ cup (1 package) dried porcini mushrooms
½ cup red wine
2 cups fresh Basil
2 cups fresh parsley
2 large white onions
2 small heads of garlic
5 boxes of Pomi strained tomatoes
48 oz. low-sodium chicken broth or low sodium stock
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried Italian spices
A piece of Parmigiano cheese rind (end)
Soak porcini mushrooms in ½ cup red wine till dehydrated, mince, and sauté when soft. Brown all meats in 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Puree fresh basil, parsley, onions and garlic, and then brown with olive oil. In a stockpot, add Pomi tomatoes and chicken stock.
Add brown meats, veggie mixture and sauté mushrooms to pot. Add dried herbs and rind of Parmigiano cheese
Simmer for 3 to 4 hours.
Place in containers, cool and freeze.
1 Package of Barilla, no-boil lasagna noodles
3 cups of “Mama’s Italian Meat Sauce”
16 ounces low-fat ricotta cheese
8 ounces lite cream cheese
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon oregano
1 package of frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeeze excess liquid
½ cup Parmigiano cheese
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with vegetable cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese and cream cheese together
Add nutmeg, egg, dried oregano, and spinach. Spread 1/3 meat sauce in baking dish, layer lasagna noodles on top.
Spread ½ spinach mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with ½ Parmigiano cheese and ½ mozzarella cheese on top.
Layer with noodles. Spread remaining spinach mixture, top with 1/3 meat sauce.
Top with lasagna noodles, remaining meat sauce, Parmigiano cheese and mozzarella cheese. Cover with parchment paper.
Place in pre-heated 350-degree oven. Bake until bubbling, around 45 minutes.
Remove parchment paper last 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack, cool for about 15 minutes, cut into squares.