Martin Scorsese had his mother cook the food in film
Credit: Everett

After audiences ogled all the food dished up in GoodFellas, a tie-in cookbook would have sold like cannolis. Director Martin Scorsese asked his mother, Catherine, to cook the onscreen food — and make a cameo as Joe Pesci’s mom. Mrs. Scorsese parted with her meat sauce recipe — the one prepared in the prison scene — for Entertainment Weekly readers:

For meat sauce:

1/2 lb. piece shank of veal, whole

1/2 lb. pork sausage

light olive oil

medium onion, chopped small

5 large garlic cloves or more, whole

6-oz. can tomato paste

2 28-oz. cans Italian-style tomatoes (preferably Redpak brand)

For meatballs:

1 lb. ground mixture of veal, beef, and pork

1 egg

grated Locatelli and sardo cheeses

fresh parsley

garlic salt, optional

salt and finely ground red pepper

2 T tomato sauce

bread crumbs if needed for consistency

Sauté sausage and veal in a large pot in olive oil until a little brown. Put aside. Sauté onion and garlic cloves in the same pot until golden. Add tomato paste and 3 paste cans of water to pot. Put tomatoes through a sieve to get rid of seeds and add to pot. Cook on low flame.

When sauce starts to bubble, add salt and red pepper to taste and simmer for a while, stirring every now and then from the bottom up. Don’t put in any oregano; it keeps repeating on you.

Add the large pieces of veal and pork. Cook uncovered until meat comes apart with a fork.

Mix meatball ingredients together and roll into egg-size balls. Put raw meatballs in the sauce — do not fry them. When meatballs float to the top of the sauce (don’t stir until they do), they should be done. Simmer and stir a few more minutes.

Remove pieces of veal and pork, slice, and serve as a side dish with meatballs. Serve sauce over spaghetti or whatever pasta you want.

(Serves two very hearty eaters, with 1 lb. of pasta.)

  • Movie
  • 145 minutes