The Secret to My Sauce

Secret to my SauceImade pizza topped with homemade sauce for my friend and agent extraordinaire Joy Tutela the last Winter.

It was a real compliment when she told me it tasted exactly like her Aunt’s famous Italian sauce. Every time I tell people about “the secret ingredient” – a pork chop – they seem to be surprised.

Adding a piece of meat on the bone to your sauce is an old home-cooking secret to getting tons of rich flavor into a sauce that is made primarily with vegetables. I use a trimmed pork chop on the bone to achieve that same rich flavor without drastically increasing fat content.

Shred meat from chop after cooking and for a topping on home-made pizzas, filling quesadillas, or as an alternative to ground turkey or beef tacos.

Below you find my version of tomato sauce, but I’d love to know your ideas: What’s your secret trick to get more flavor into your dishes? Just post your tips in the comment section below…

The Secret to My Sauce

Rating: 51

Yield: Makes about 3 quarts of sauce


  • 2 center cut pork chops, fat trimmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 28-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 fresh basil sprig


  • Sprinkle the pork chops with the salt and pepper. Heat a large stockpot over medium high heat.
  • Add the oil and the chops. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, turning once to brown both sides of the chops.
  • Transfer the chops to a plate. Add the onions and garlic. Cook 4 to 5 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the white wine and cook 1 to 2 minutes until it reduces by half. Add the tomatoes and their juices. Break the tomatoes up with tongs or a wooden spoon.
  • Return the pork chops to the tomato mixture and add the basil sprig. Partially cover and simmer about 45 minutes to one hour until the pork is cooked through and the sauce has reduce by one third. Remove the pork to a plate and puree the sauce with an immersion blender. Serve immediately.


  1. My mom, who also added meat to make her amazingly, famous and delicious sauce – always added a pinch of sugar to cut down on the tang of the sauce. But remember, a little goes a long way!

    • I agree that a pinch of sugar is a must. But my “secret” is fennel seed which would complement the pork chop beautifully!

  2. Fennel seed? Yum!

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