The Sicilian “Sugo Finto” with potatoes is a traditional sauce that mimics the richness of a meat ragù but without the meat, using potatoes and other vegetables for substance and flavor. This dish is a testament to the ingenuity of Italian peasant cuisine, particularly in Sicily, where it has its unique characteristics. The sauce aims to create a “meat effect” without the actual meat, relying on specific spices characteristic of the Sicilian Mediterranean tradition to evoke the desired flavor profile.
Wild fennel seeds, a common ingredient in Sicilian sausage, play a significant role in this recipe. The starch from the potatoes, which are left whole, contributes to the consistency of the sauce, enhancing the faux meat texture.
Here’s a detailed recipe for making this delicious sauce:
- 1 onion
- 3 carrots
- 2 potatoes
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 liter of tomato passata or crushed tomatoes in the can
- 1/2 glass of red wine
- A handful of wild fennel seeds
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Finely chop the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic.
- Add the garlic, onion, fennel seeds and chilly in a large pan and heat with some olive oil until they start to turn golden.
- Add the chopped carrots and celery for more or less one minute.
- Add the tablespoon of tomato paste, pour the red wine in the pan, and let it evaporate completely.
- Add the potatoes, and tomato passata to the pan.
- Let the sauce simmer until it thickens and the vegetables are tender, adjusting the seasoning with salt.
- Meanwhile, cook your pasta of choice in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
- Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce in the pan for a couple of minutes to combine.
- Serve the pasta with a sprinkle of pecorino cheese if desired.
This recipe celebrates Sicilian creativity and resourcefulness, using simple ingredients to create a rich and flavorful dish that can be enjoyed with various pasta shapes.