Chef Andrew Zimmern’s Palate Pleasers for Movie Night

by | Mar 2024

Sunday Sauce With Meatballs and Sausages

Sunday Sauce With Meatballs and Sausages. Photo: Andrew Zimmern

Andrew Zimmern shares some of his go-to recipes for his annual movie night.

Sunday Sauce With Meatballs and Sausages

“Need I say more? Even [characters] Tessio and Clemenza would approve. A must for your repertoire. A classic ragu and quicker than using pork shoulder or other long braising meat cuts that require longer cooking and take the acidity out of my sauce. This batch feeds a crowd, ideal for eight to 12 people and the centerpiece of a great day spent watching The Godfather, parts 1 and 2.”

Meatballs and Sausage

  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 lb. ground veal
  • 1/2 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 egg plus one egg yolk, beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (or more if you need it)
  • 1/3 cup shallots, minced
  • 3-4 Tbsp. buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. Andrew Zimmern Badia Italian Spice Blend (details at
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 8 links Italian sausage

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, veal, chicken, eggs, breadcrumbs, shallots, buttermilk, salt and pepper. Mix well. Let the meatball mixture sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll the meat mixture into small meatballs. In a large skillet over medium heat, pan fry the meatballs until they’re lightly browned on all sides. Reserve to a platter. Add some oil to the pan, and brown the sausages on both sides. Reserve to the platter, and refrigerate.


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups dry white wine
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • 4 Tbsp. Andrew Zimmern Badia Italian Spice Blend
  • 1/2 cup garlic, sliced
  • 12 anchovies, minced
  • 1 cup shallots, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 96 oz. San Marzano tomatoes, in their juices
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Place the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the Italian seasoning, garlic, basil, anchovies, shallots and bay leaf. Sauté until shallots are glassy; do not let the garlic burn. Add the wine, bring to a simmer; reduce by half. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, and stir to incorporate. Simmer the sauce for 60 minutes. Add the meatballs and sausage, and bring back to a simmer. When it comes back to a simmer, cook for another 15-20 minutes, season and serve with penne or rigatoni. I toss the pasta in the sauces and pass cheese, sauce, meatballs and sausage at the table with a big salad and plenty of toast bread.

The following recipes can be found at

Risotto Milanese With Shrimp and Clams

“A classic risotto is often a part of my Godfather menu or for the Feast of the Seven Fishes. For The Godfather dinners, I typically do a classic Milanese Risotto. For Risotto With Clams and Shrimp, I add a few dozen clams about half way through the cooking process and allow their liquid to help hydrate the rice. About 3 or 4 minutes before serving, I add about 18 shrimp, peeled and deveined, split lengthwise, so they curl and cook quickly. You get extra points for adding a teaspoon of squid ink and making it black-gold in color. There are levels to this stuff.”

Seared Calamari Salad With Mint

“You need a dish like this in your repertoire. I make it and leave it out at room temperature until it’s devoured. That typically isn’t a long time.”

Connie’s Wedding Cake (AKA: Almond and Orange Cake With Poached Plum Compote)

“In the opening act of The Godfather, Connie, Don Corleone’s only daughter, is getting married as the don is conducting some business in his office. A few scenes later, the wedding cake, an over-the-top tiered monster, a cathedral of a cake, gets sliced. I don’t make that, but I do need a cake that reminds me of southern Italy, and this Spanish almond cake is the one that everyone in my family calls Connie’s Wedding Cake …”


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