Big hats, big hair . . . add big flavor to the long list of all things classically Texan! Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt calls Texas Eats "Robb Walsh’s unabashedly admiring ode to . . . a fabulous hodgepodge of gastronomic hybrids" that make up good TX food.

A perfect example of this cookbook's brilliant use of ingredients is this Texan spin on the signature Italian pasta sauce sugo all'amatriciana.

Frank Mancuso’s Texas Sugo

Makes about 6 cups sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • ½ yellow onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 jalapeño chile, minced (optional)

  • 1 cup very finely chopped, peeled carrots

  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans Roma tomatoes, with juice

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

  • ¼ cup dry red wine

  • 2 pounds Italian sausages or meatballs

  • ¼ cup mixed grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses, in equal parts

  • Salt

In a heavy, 4- to 5-quart pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and chile and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the carrots and mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice and stir together. Add the parsley and basil, stir well, and then crush the tomatoes with a potato masher for about 5 minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the tomato paste and wine and stir to blend. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for an hour or until the sauce has darkened in color and thickened.

Meanwhile, cook the sausages in a skillet over medium heat on the stove top or in a 350°F oven until they are cooked through. Add the cooked sausages to the sauce and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until the sausage or meatballs are well done. Stir gently so you do not break up the sausages or meatballs.

Just before serving, in a saucepan over low heat, add the Parmesan mixture to as much sugo as you intend to use right away. Stir continuously so the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Season with salt.

Use the sugo to make spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, hot baked meatball or sausage sandwiches, or your favorite Italian-American creations.

Reprinted with permission from Texas Eats: The New Lone Star Heritage Cookbook, with More than 200 Recipes by Robb Walsh, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photo credit: Laurie Smith © 2012. Buy Texas Eats. Read our review of this book.

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