The secrets of chef Mario Carbone’s Sunday sauce

For generations, Italian-American families have held a special tradition – simmering a pot of tomato sauce for hours to bring the whole family together. And at chef Mario Carbone’s New York City restaurant, known as a “red sauce joint,” he puts his own twist on his family’s recipe by adding ground veal and pork sausage to the ground beef in the Sunday sauce he makes. Correspondent Kelefa Sanneh takes us on a delicious journey to taste this iconic dish. In this edition of CBS Sunday Morning, you’ll get a sneak peek into Carbone’s restaurant and learn about the secret ingredient that makes his sauce so special. Don’t miss this mouth-watering segment that highlights the power of food to bring people together.

Join Kelefa Sanneh on your favorite day of the week, Sunday, as you dive into the intriguing story of chef Mario Carbone and his Sunday sauce. Get ready for a recipe that was even featured in The Godfather script and discover the process behind creating this mouthwatering dish. With a dash of nostalgia and a pinch of philosophy, Carbone shares how the sauce acts as a centerpiece that brings friends and family together. Plus, you’ll learn insider details about Carbone’s renowned restaurant and the ingredients that make his sauce stand out. Tune in to CBS Sunday Morning for an appetizing experience that celebrates the beauty of tradition and the joy of delicious food.

The History of Sunday Sauce

In Italian-American culture, the tradition of Sunday sauce has been passed down for generations. This beloved dish brings families together, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Chef Mario Carbone, owner of the famous New York City restaurant, Carbone, has put his own twist on this classic recipe, adding his own unique flavors to create a sauce that is truly one-of-a-kind.

The Importance of Sunday Sauce

Sunday sauce holds a special place in Italian-American families. The act of preparing and sharing a meal together on Sunday is a cherished tradition. This sauce is the centerpiece of the meal, bringing everyone to the table and creating an atmosphere of love and togetherness.

Chef Mario Carbone’s Red Sauce Joint

Carbone, located in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York City, has become a popular destination for those craving a taste of authentic Italian-American cuisine. With its red checkered tablecloths and vintage decor, it exudes a nostalgic charm that adds to the overall dining experience. Over the years, Carbone has had the pleasure of serving famous guests and regulars, including President Obama and Justin Bieber.

Ingredients in Mario Carbone’s Sunday Sauce

Mario Carbone’s Sunday sauce recipe includes a flavorful combination of ground beef, ground veal, and pork sausage. This trio of meats adds depth and richness to the sauce, creating a melt-in-your-mouth experience. The ground beef and veal provide a balance of flavors, with the veal adding a slightly lighter taste. The addition of pork sausage brings a savory and aromatic element to the sauce.

The Role of Tomato Paste

Tomato paste plays a crucial role in Mario Carbone’s Sunday sauce. It not only adds a vibrant red color to the sauce but also enhances its flavor and thickness. When the tomato paste is added, it undergoes a process of slow simmering, allowing the flavors to meld together and develop a rich taste that is hard to resist.

Cooking Techniques

One of the key techniques used in making Mario Carbone’s Sunday sauce is slow simmering. The sauce is cooked over low heat for several hours, allowing all the ingredients to marry together and develop a deep, complex flavor. This slow and patient cooking method is what gives the sauce its irresistible taste and aroma. Additionally, Carbone stewing sausage brings an extra level of authenticity to the dish.

Mario Carbone’s Family Recipe

Carbone’s Sunday sauce recipe has been passed down through generations in his family. It is a cherished tradition that has been carefully preserved and adapted over time. The recipe has undergone some changes and adaptations, with each generation adding their own personal touch to make it their own. The result is a sauce that is steeped in tradition and love.

From Scratch to Store-Bought

Traditionally, Sunday sauce was made entirely from scratch, with fresh ingredients and canned tomatoes. However, as times have changed and convenience has become more important, many families, including the Carbone family, have started using jarred sauce as a base while still adding their own personal touch. This allows them to maintain the tradition of making Sunday sauce while saving time and effort.

Approval from the Carbone Family

For the Carbone family, the approval of their Sunday sauce is of utmost importance. The delicious taste and aroma of the sauce speak for themselves, and the joy it brings to their family gatherings is undeniable. Cooking together as a family is an essential part of the food preparation process, fostering a sense of unity and love. The Carbone family takes pride in sharing their delicious sauce with their loved ones.


Sunday sauce is more than just a recipe; it is a symbol of family, tradition, and love. Chef Mario Carbone’s twist on this beloved dish has added his own unique flavors to create a sauce that is loved by many. Whether making it from scratch or using jarred sauce with a personal touch, Sunday sauce continues to bring families together and create lasting memories. So next time you sit down for a Sunday meal, don’t forget to savor every bite of this delicious and comforting dish.

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