Salsa alla Capricciosa

November/December 2009

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (30 votes)

This is a beautifully simple, but full-flavored tomato sauce from Lidia Bastianich. Serve over spaghetti or linguine, tossing the cooked pasta with half the sauce and some Grana Padano cheese, serving the rest of the sauce on top and passing more cheese.

"I have made this three times to unanimous rave reviews. My son even made it for his girlfriend's birthday and she loved it. He was surprised how simple it was, too. Kathy "
Salsa alla Capricciosa

Makes: 12 cups, for 24 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 10 slices bacon or 6 ounces guanciale (see Note), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 9 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 24 pepperoncini (about one 16-ounce jar), stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 4 28-ounce cans peeled San Marzano tomatoes (see Note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Cook bacon (or guanciale) in oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, over medium heat until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add pepperoncini, tomatoes and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, until thick and saucy, about 1 hour, reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Notes: Guanciale is unsmoked, air-cured pork jowl, similar to bacon, but fattier and without the smoky flavor. It’s used to add subtle, delicious pork flavor to Italian sauces, soups and vegetables. Look for it in Italian markets or online at
  • San Marzano tomatoes are a sweet variety of plum tomatoes with an extra-saucy consistency; they make excellent canned tomatoes. Other whole canned tomatoes can be used in their place, but the flavor will not be as special. Look for San Marzano tomatoes near other whole canned tomatoes in well-stocked supermarkets.


66 calories; 3 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 411 mg sodium; 42 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 fat

More From EatingWell

Recipe Categories

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner