My specialty is sauce. Any kind of sauce. I make a rose sauce that is a sensual experience to create. With a base of high quality cream, it really is a sensual experience to hold a fist full of crushed tomatoes and slowly squeeze them through my fingers into a simmering pot of the cream base. Add a lot of crushed basil and stir and not only does it delight the sense of touch, but also the senses of sight and smell. It is wonderful.
Besides the known Italian sauces, and trust me, a great one is near impossible to find in an American restaurant, I also make a fricasse sauce that is incredibly good. I always make my own broth for this with chicken, carrots, celery, whole cloves and an unpeeled onion whose skin adds the golden hue. This is strained and a smooth sauce is made with it. Add the chicken, add lemon juice and surround the platter with thin lemon slices. Top with trimmed fresh parsley pieces, and wow wow wow.
I know what good food is, and particularly good Italian food. And as I said, it's near impossible to find in a restaurant. But I have found one that comes close. We came upon this little, out of the way place, called Italian Express. From the outside, it doesn't look like much. Its doors are open only five days a week, and for only three hours, from 11am to 2pm. And it's not easy to find a seat in there.
Every now and then I will go and purchase a gallon of their sauce. Heaven. Absolutely heaven. I don't have the courage to ask what they put in it to make it so good. The place open a few decades ago as a mom and pop pizzeria and evolved into what it is now. If you ask the owner, Lisa, if she's Italian, she will answer honestly and somewhat sheepishly, "No."
Yesterday I went and bought sauce there. As usual, it was packed and hard to find an empty spot on the lawn in which to park my car. But when you do that and enter the place, you will not find much embellishments; there are no candles on checkered table cloths. No Pavarotti plays through well hidden speakers. There are no towel wrapped bottles of wine waiting to be brought to your table. It's bare in there. The only thing that attacks the senses is the smell of sauce. And it is enough.
Last night I served this sauce over spaghetti and ate a huge plate of it. I was a happy camper. And a full one.