We’re gonna talk about this:
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 [just] 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.
If you use bison and/or ostrich (or venison), you need to add pork. Full stop. Equivalent proportion. You might also want to dump in a tsp of your favored flavor of vinegar per pound; just enough to work on the protein and add a hint of flavor, but without pickling it. Then there’s the egg and the breadcrumbs (see below).
If you’re doing meatballs, whatever meat, do meatballs. That means egg and breadcrumbs and browning. The lump ground meats I dropped into sauce for the Goodfellas experiment were only ehn, while the browned/egged/breadcrumbed meatballs from the Godfather recipe were awesome. IMAO.
Sausage, I think you have more flexibility on. Cook in the sauce (in pieces) or cook whole separately, then cut them and dump them in the sauce.
Fettuccine is the best pasta for this after cavatappi, IMAO.
The Goodfellas’ focus on finely sliced/chopped garlic (and proper cuts of meats) is well-noted; take heed! (But there are easier ways for garlic than shaving a bulb with a razor blade.) Commercially diced garlic in a jar is fine for this, if you don’t do it yourself (but try to do it yourself!).
Also, you’re gonna want a Tbsp or two of butter and a dollop of heavy cream to finish the sauce/gravy. Right before the end of cooking. Like 5 minutes or less. (Sounds weird, but it works, and neither movie mentions it.) If you like melty cheese, this would be a time to throw in a handful or two.(I’m agnostic on the cheese; I prefer mine added on top of a completed dish, rather than in the sauce, but that’s just me.)
A drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive oil over the pasta *before* you put the sauce on it, is a recommendation (from Italian chefs; as a overly-naturalized Italian-American mutt cook, I say screw that!). Save the EVOO and the pepper for the bread and the salad, or for non-gravy dishes. If you must, a light EVOO drizzle over the sauced pasta won’t hurt anything , as long as it’s LIGHT!
Maybe, if you want to be risque, drizzle EVOO over lightly when the sauce is done and ladled over the pasta and meat. (Hipster.)
(Now, in return, I need more Italian seafood and seafood/pasta recipes. I have a “functional” puttanesca recipe, but last time I tried it, it tasted terrible. Advice?)