Would Goodfellas' Prison Pasta Sauce Really Be Possible?

Ever since you were a kid, maybe you didn't want to be a gangster, but who wouldn't want to be able to make that extraordinary-looking red sauce from "Goodfellas" that the boys put together in prison? According to a piece by Men's Health, it's not exactly the last-minute Ragu canned gravy you might use for an at-home pasta night. While the boys' luxurious feast might seem improbable, it could actually happen. Henry Hill, who "Goodfellas" is based on, actually enjoyed a pretty comfortable existence in prison, staying in an "honor dorm" that had more comfortable accommodations than a standard cell. Mob bosses that could afford to feed their crew delicious meals sometimes did so, meaning that the elaborate dinner scene could have actually happened in real life. It turns out that the famous "Goodfellas" prison sauce is about a two-hour ordeal that has a basis in Martin Scorsese's own life. In fact, it's based on his mom's recipe.

While a nice old Italian lady may not give off the same vibes as a group of hardened criminals in the kitchen, the recipe lends itself to the scene and the table just perfectly. and maybe cutting the garlic with a razor blade for almost meltable thinness might not be entirely necessary, it still seems to bring out both the danger and absolute kitchen precision in both the scene and the sauce itself. But just what is Mrs. Scorsese's recipe?

Catherine Scorsese's Recipe For Prison Delight

In a 1990s piece in Entertainment Weekly, Scorsese's mother Catherine Scorsese, who actually played Joe Pesci's character's mother in the film, shared the recipe that inspired the famous scene. While the amount of ingredients required, specifically the amount of meat, may be a lot, this classic Sunday/jail sauce doesn't require "Master Chef" levels of expertise. Most ingredients can be found in the cupboard, but it wouldn't be the same without a half-pound of both veal shank and pork sausage.

The first step is to brown the veal shank and sausage before sautéing the oil, chopped onion, and garlic in the same large pan. When the meat is brown and the rest is golden, add a six oz. can of tomato paste, plus three cans worth of water and canned Italian tomatoes. Let it come to a simmer, adding salt and red pepper to give it an extra punch of flavor. As for the meatballs, you need a one-pound mixture of ground pork, beef, and veal, mixed together with an egg, sharp grated cheeses, fresh parsley, plus garlic salt, and bread crumbs as needed. From there, add the raw meatballs to your sauce and just wait until they float to know they're done. Take the sausage and veal out and voila! — the prison meal you've always dreamt of.