The aroma of celery, a zephyr-like presence, has a background role in many preparations, from vegetable soups to risottos to stuffings to stews, but in this Roman sauce it gets an up-front opportunity to display all its considerable charm. There is a greater concentration of fragrance in the leaves than in the stalks alone, an important consideration when using American celery, whose scent is usually more muted than that of Italian varieties. To achieve the aromatic intensity I was looking for when cooking in America, I used leaves and stalks in equal proportion, whereas in Italy, if I used leaves at all, it would be in a ratio of one part of leaves to four of stalks.
If you’d like to do as the Romans do, serve the sauce over fine homemade fettuccine.
Homemade noodles are the best foil for this sauce, either fettuccine or the square ones known as tonnarelli. Boxed dry pasta will also work well if you choose a short tubular shape such as penne or maccheroncini.
© 1997 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.