The Classic Godfather Recipe Joe Russo And Joe Isidori Both Make The Same Way - Exclusive

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It's safe to say that many born and bred Italian-Americans share a deep love and appreciation for two things: "The Godfather" and big family meals. It's a beloved tradition for gargantuan, multi-generational gatherings to take place over the weekend in between crazy work schedules. And the centerpiece of the feast is usually a big simmering pot of Sunday Sauce (or Sunday Gravy). It's meant to be cooked low and slow all day long, letting the irresistible aroma draw family members of all ages to the dinner table.

It's a custom that chef Joe Isidori and film director Joe Russo know well. Both grew up in Italian-American families and developed an early appreciation for food that led to success in their respective careers. Russo learned the art of telling stories while sitting around the family table on Sundays and Isdori honed his skills in the kitchen.

Recently, the two reveled in their shared heritage while chatting exclusively for Tasting Table's "Shared Tastes." And it was no surprise that both of these food-loving Italians and storytellers also share a love for "The Godfather," which arguably helped make Sunday Sauce famous outside of grandma's kitchen. Neither Russo nor Isidori veer from the classic recipe, as detailed in the 1972 mobster movie. If it's good enough for the Corleones, it's good enough for these guys.

Traditional Sunday Sauce is simple and timeless

If you've seen "The Godfather" then you know the scene. Peter Clemenza, right hand to Vito Corleone, ushers Vito's son Michael over to the stove to show him how to make Sunday Sauce. In a foreshadowing moment, he tells Michael, "You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday." We won't go into detail so as not to ruin the fun for those who haven't seen this iconic film. But Clemenza does hit upon an important quality of Sunday Sauce — that it's meant to nourish a crowd. For both Russo and Isidori, that's always meant their big families. "My great-grandmother lived downstairs from us. She would cook every Sunday. You could smell it coming up through the floorboards," recalled Russo, adding "The whole family would come over and eat ... 20, 25, 30 people would come squeeze into her apartment."

Outside of its sheer volume, another important trait of Sunday Sauce is its simplicity. "... it's a little bit of oil, you fry up some garlic, you throw in your tomato and your tomato paste, and you put in your sausage and your meatballs," explained Russo. Isidori agreed that sticking to the recipe is key — even something as small as adding onions isn't necessary. It speaks volumes that even Michelin-starred chefs like Isidori don't feel a need to elevate this recipe; sometimes keeping it simple is best. 

Visit Arthur & Sons NY Italian in New York City's West Village for an authentic dining experience. Joe Isidori's new line of Arthur & Sons New York Italian Tomato Sauce, available in Marinara, Fra Diavolo, Alla Vodka, and Spicy Vodka, is coming soon to brick-and-mortar and online stores near you.

"Citadel" premieres on Prime Video April 28. "Pizza Film School" is now available to stream on YouTube.