The Godfather-Goodfellas Pasta Sauce Smackdown
And (RELEVANCE ALERT) both movies feature painstakingly-described onscreen recipes for pasta sauce.
In the NFL, when two teams tie for a playoff spot, the league uses a system of 12 tiebreaking procedures, each becoming less significant than the previous one (head-to-head record, strength of the opponents you played, the most touchdowns you scored) until finally, if teams match up perfectly on the first eleven, the 12th is a coin toss.
The way I see it, we’re at the eleventh tiebreaker right now - the Goodfellas/Godfather question is so close to call that we’re fast approaching coin-flip territory. So I decided to do what any cook in my position would do: make film history.
I’ve made both, made a hybrid or three, and tomorrow night will launch off into new experimentation — using bison or ostrich, using a different pasta, switching up the cooking times. Whatever hits me as I’m at the supermarket.
For the record, to my taste, the Godfather sauce was better, save for it being overly sweet. My later tests and hybrids ditched Clemenza’s sugar, and it worked out very nicely.
That being said, Vinnie’s addition of some onions ain’t bad, but he uses too many onions. (I used one Vidalia. It was enough!)
The biggest issue, if you can dig it, is whether to brown the meatballs and sausage or cook them in the sauce. People get derpy over this. SRSLY. (My mom is adamant that you have to brown the meat before it goes into the sauce. She yelled at me when I told her about the preliminary Goodfellas experiment. Out of character, to say the least!)
I’ve tried both separately, and together (in the hybrids).
I gotta come down on the Godfather side here: brown your meat.
And de-glaze, for Jebus Haploid Christ’s sake! Preferably with a decent red wine; don’t splash it in like Clemenza does. Put the de-glazing fluid and yummy bits right into the sauce. (Me, I’d use a decent but affordable Chianti or Merlot, but pick what’s best for you.)
It makes a huge difference in the umami flavor.
Lastly, pasta choice: Don’t use delicate pasta for this — no angel hair, even no linguine or spaghetti. (Screw Coppola on this point*.)
Go with bowties, fettuccine, cavatappi, rigatoni, penne… You want a solid pasta for this sauce; otherwise, when the sauce overwhelms the pasta, you have stew.
Also, Charles, there’s no Food category. I pine, because I want to see some of VB’s recipes she’s always flaunting!
* Granted, Coppola was probably thinking of fresh, homemade pasta (which has different characteristics from mass-produced boxed pasta) which is not always easily available today. Salt this opinion liberally.