Italian Essentials: Rossa Sauce

Andy Anderson !


This is a tomato-based sauce where the spices are adjusted to compliment poultry dishes. For example, this is my goto sauce for Chicken Parmesan. Or sauté up a nice chicken breast, slice and place it on homemade pasta, and cover with this sauce.

My Aunt Josephine had her own version of this sauce, but it is lost to time. This is my version.

So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.


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15 Min
30 Min
Stove Top



  • 2 Tbsp
    sweet butter, unsalted
  • 1 Tbsp
    italian olive oil, extra virgin variety
  • 1/2 medium
    yellow onions, small dice
  • 1/2 medium
    red bell pepper, small dice
  • 2 clove
    garlic, minced, or thinly sliced
  • 8 oz
    tomato sauce, 1 small can
  • 28 oz
    crushed tomatoes, 1 large can, with juices
  • 1 tsp
    apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp
    dehydrated onions, coarsely ground
  • 1/2 tsp
    dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp
    salt, kosher variety, fine grind
  • 1/4 tsp
    black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 - 2 pinch
    crushed red pepper flakes

  • ·
    a bit of fresh clover honey, for sweetness

How to Make Italian Essentials: Rossa Sauce


  2. To make this recipe, you will need a saucepan large enough to hold all the ingredients.
  3. About the Garlic
    If you want to do the garlic the Italian way, remove the skin, then take a razor blade and cut the garlic so thin that it almost melts when it hits the hot pan…

    Just like in the movie, Goodfellas.
  4. Can This Sauce Be Frozen?
    Yep, it can. Just place it into freezer bags (Ziploc), squeeze out as much air as you can, seal and toss in the fridge. If properly sealed it should keep for 4 – 6 months.

    Sealing portions should reflect your eating habits. If you always cook for 2 then there is nothing wrong with freezing double portions; conversely, if you are cooking for yourself, then single portions are in order.
  5. Working with Canned Tomatoes
    Early on, I wrote a couple of posts on how to pick the best canned tomatoes, and how to work with them
    If you have an interest, here they are:

    Cooking Class: The Best Canned Tomatoes

    Removing the Bitter Taste from Canned Tomatoes
  6. Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  7. Place the oil and butter into a saucepan over medium heat.
  8. When the foaming subsides, give the pan a swirl, then add the onions and red pepper. Cook until they begin to soften, but not brown, about 3 – 4 minutes.

    Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 – 40 seconds.
  9. Add the tomato sauce and stir for about 30 seconds.
  10. Add the crushed tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, the dry spices, salt and pepper. Stir and bring up to a simmer.

    Continue to simmer, partially covered, until it begins to thicken, about 20 – 30 minutes.
  11. While simmering do a tasting for proper seasoning.
  12. The onions and red pepper will give the sauce a chunky consistency, if however you want it smoother, give it a few whirls in a blender or food processor.

    FYI: Aunt Jo always left it chunky.
  14. Use with your favorite chicken dish, or store in the fridge or freezer until needed. Enjoy.
  15. Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

Printable Recipe Card

About Italian Essentials: Rossa Sauce

Course/Dish: Other Sauces
Main Ingredient: Vegetable
Regional Style: Italian
Other Tag: Quick & Easy

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