Sicilian Red Gravy Fondue
You'll find a version of this sauce bubbling in many Italian-American kitchens — except the family is more likely to call it “red gravy” than sauce.
In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring, until onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add oregano and basil. Stir well.
Stir tomato pastento the oil for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of water and mix until blended. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and pepper flakes. Pour 1½ quarts of water (or a mixture of water and red wine) into the sauce and reduce heat to medium.
Simmer sauce for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if sauce becomes too thick. When sauce reaches desired consistency, season with salt, pepper, and parsley. Stir in sugar and bring to a boil.
Remove sauce from heat and ladle into 1 or more fondue pots. Place pot over heating source. Serve with meatballs, shrimp, and sausage.
Tomato Sauce Dippers
In theory, you could cook meatballs, Italian sausage, and shrimp in the sauce, but in reality, it would take a long time to get the meat cooked through. Better to have cooked meatballs (count on 6 cocktail-sized meatballs per person), shrimp, and sausage ready for warming in the sauce and eating over hot, oil-tossed penne pasta.