Photo: Longview News

Voted Best Italian Restaurant, Best Restaurant, Best Chef, and Best Pizza on the Emerald Coast by EC Magazine readers since 2010, Fat Clemenzas goes to great lengths to provide quality ingredients in their traditional family recipes served with consistency in their Miramar Beach restaurant. You can read their story, see photos, get restaurant details and find them on a map by clicking GulfCoastRestaurants.com here.

The restaurant name originated from ‘The Godfather’ character Peter “Fat Pete” Clemenza who was well known for his love for cooking great Italian food and his famous line: “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” The owners of Fat Clemenzas grew up in Italian neighborhoods full of passion for their culture and cuisine. They could not find the quality Italian restaurant or the atmosphere they were used to, so they decided to open their own.

Since it is National Spaghetti Day, I thought I’d put a spotlight on Fat Clemenzas in the hopes that if you are living in or visiting the area that you will dine at one of my family’s favorite Gulf Coast Restaurants. If wanting to cook at home, try this recipe inspired by ‘The Godfather’ and Fat Pete who said, “”Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn’t stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh…? And a little bit o’ wine. An’ a little bit o’ sugar, and that’s my trick.”

Mangiamo!

Ingredients

Serves 8

2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

3 garlic cloves chopped

2 (28 ounce) cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand over pot to create a chunky sauce

2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste

4 Italian sausages, grilled and sliced in half

2 lb meatballs, cooked (use your favorite recipe)

a splash of good red wine

sugar to taste

Preparation

Heat the oil and butter over medium heat in a large pot.

Add garlic and cook for a few minutes. Do not let the garlic burn.

Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring continuously so that a relatively smooth consistence is reached.

Add sausages and meatballs and stir until the meat is coated.

Add a splash of red wine, then the sugar according to taste.

Reduce heat to low and let simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ladle over fresh cooked spaghetti noodles.

Top with fresh chopped Italian parsley or basil.

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