Tony Ciccone is the Cheese and Macarone

Making sauces, especially long simmering marinara sauces, have always scared the crap out of me.  For this reason, Tony Ciccone has changed my life. Madge’s dad (yup, he’s Madonna’s father) was recently featured in FOOD Magazine, the same issue with the hilarious Three 6 Mafia spread (if you haven’t read my post about that, read it now!). Mr. Ciccone and his wife own and operate a vineyard in Suttons Bay, Michigan (with a special line of Madonna Wines).  The man already had me in awe  just for being able to grow grapes in Michigan. Then I made his meatballs and marinara sauce and I’m seriously considering sending him a love letter. Holy crap was it good! The marinara sauce has so many great, fresh ingredients with layers of flavor. Really, it could be served on its own with your favorite pasta and red wine, but the meatballs are such a nice touch.  I experimented on my husband and his friend with this dish and they just about gave me a standing ovation.  It’s damn good and I encourage everyone to make it, right now!

Sylvio Ciccone

The Madonna Wine Line

 *Note* I love garlic, but recipes that call for a lot of it frighten me.  The meatball recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of minced garlic. I was running out of time (as usual) and wasn’t about to mince it myself, so I used 1 tablespoon of the chopped garlic I had in my fridge and threw a few shakes of garlic powder in the mixing bowl. 

Ciccone Family Italian Style Meatballs as featured in FOOD Magazine.

1 lb ground beef or pork (or combination of both)

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 large slightly beaten egg

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

2 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon of black pepper

1/2 cup of milk

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1 teaspoon of thyme

Preheat oven to 375. Using your hands, mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl until well blended. Shape into 1 inch balls and place on lightly greased baking sheet or casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes.  Add to marinara sauce and simmer until ready to serve with pasta.

Ciccone Family Traditional Italian Homemade Marinara Sauce as featured in FOOD Magazine.

5 tomatoes, chopped

2 cans (15 oz) tomato sauce

1 can tomato paste

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 small bell pepper, diced (I used green)

12 mushrooms, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

2 small zucchini, sliced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup red wine

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon of black pepper

1/2 tablespoon of dried basil

1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon of dried sage

Add all ingredients together (except for the dried herbs) into a large pot on the stove.  Simmer on low for about 2 hours. Add the dried herbs and simmer another 1-2 hours. Serve with pasta (and meatballs!)

  Look at those beautiful ingredients!

Awe yeah, simmer that sauce!

 With the meatballs!

Man approved!


2 thoughts on “Tony Ciccone is the Cheese and Macarone

  1. 4 hours of simmering!? Holy hell I bet your house smelled crazy good! The meatballs are pretty much how I make them, I just don’t use thyme. I’m getting hungry. Love the thumbs up! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Best-Ever Marinara and the Super Awesome Cover-to-Cover Project « Jen Loves Food

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