Sugo or sugo dell’arrosto is an Italian translation of the word “gravy” or to be more specific, “juice of a roast.” In the typical Italian translation, sugo is better termed as Sugo all’ amatriciana and as alla matriciana in Romanesco translation. Sugo dishes are essentially traditional sauces for pasta, made from three main ingredients- pecorina cheese, tomato and dried pork cheek. Some of the most popular sugo recipes are Sugo All’amatriciana, the classic Italian pasta, Suggo Alla Bolognese, Pasta di pollo al Sugo bianco ( chicken pasta in white sauce) and classic pasta e sugo.
History of Sugo Dishes
The ancient use of sugo, as per the historical facts, dates back to the late 18th century when the first ever pasta was cooked in tomato sauce in 1790, by the celebrated Roman chef of the-then time, Francesco Leonardi. The recipe of the classic sugo has been mentioned in an ancient cook book by the name L’Apicio Moderno. Before travelling to Italy, some of the ancient forms of sugo dishes were believed to be savored by the Amatricianas. In fact, one of the earliest sugo recipes was gricia, a preparation of guancuiale or cured pork, grated pecorino cheese, and hints of olive oil too. The use of these ingredients for preparing sugo reflected the local herding practices in the mountainous region.
The recipe of sugo became popular in Rome in the 19th century- particularly due to eminent contacts between the Romans and Amatricians. Today, variations in sugo dishes are highly savored in both Amatrice and Italy with popular accompaniments like pasta and spaghetti.
Culinary Uses of Sugo
Sugo or the gravy is an eminent part of the Italian and Amatricianas’ culinary traditions. Sugo is a part of the dish and are most commonly served along with pasta dishes, meat and vegetable delicacies as well. Tomato is added as an essential ingredient to most of the sugo dishes for a rich color and flavor. Typically, to prepare sugo, the ingredients, including fresh tomatoes are cooked well with timely addition of water/ wine/ stock, to form thick gravy which can be enjoyed with the main dish.
Some of the most used seasonings for preparing sugo recipes are basil, oregano, black pepper, red pepper and parsley. Therefore, the serve of sugo along with a dish, complements its flavor and more essentially, yields a delectable spicy taste to the delicacy. Tomato sauce is the closest example of sugo which is popularly used in countries like Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Africa and France and Asian countries.
Popular Sugo Recipes
Sugo All’amatriciana is the classic Italian sugo dish which has been savored in the northern region of Amatrice and Rome since ages. The preparation of the sugo for this traditional dish requires guanciale or American style bacon, diced tomatoes, white wine, red pepper and sea salt. In addition, Sugo alla Bolognese is one of the most famous sugo recipes savored in the entire Italian sub-continent. This delectable sugo essentially requires fresh diced tomatoes, onions, ground beef, olive oil, parmigiano and red wine for its preparation. Other sugo dishes which are popularly savored by sugo lovers across Italian and American subcontinents are Pasta di Pollo sugo bianco, sugo con gli asparagi, Pasta with sugo and eggplant, Spring lamb sugo and more.
Cuisines Using Sugo Dishes
Sugo dishes, especially prepared from the concentrated blend of tomato sauce is highly used for preparing Italian, Amatrician, French, American, Mexican, Australian and Indian cuisines. In countries like Italy, Mexico and America, sugo in the form of thick tomato gravy, is used as an essential condiment along with dishes like spaghetti, pasta, meat and vegetables. In countries like America, Australia and New Zealand, sugo in form of ketchup, is served along with snacks or evening munches to complement their taste.
Variations in Sugo Dishes
The customary preparation of sugo, Sugo all’ amatriciana, requires three ingredients in total, pecorina cheese, tomato and dried pork cheek. However, the modern Italian sugo recipes of the dish make use of onions, as a compulsory addition to the classic form of the dish. However, Amatricians, even after centuries, still savor the original form of this sugo preparation. Some sugo dishes may require the usage of canned pork or strutto instead of the dried pork for the preparation. Other additions may include garlic finely sautéed in olive oil and chilli pepper.
Preferable Methods of Cooking
Oil sautéing is the predominant method used for the preparation of varied sugo recipes. In the classic sugo dish, sugo dell’arrosto, diced form of pancetta is fried in a fry pan containing olive oil. Next, ingredients like vegetables, onions are placed into the pan and allowed to sauté until a brown-crisp appeal. At the end, tomato cubes and wine / stock are added to the sugo and allowed to cook in steam and oil for a few minutes. It is to be noted that most of the sugo recipes, nevertheless the ingredients, are prepared through the basic cooking method of oil sautéing.