Sugo Finto (Fake Sauce) with Crispy Capers

by Erin

There’s nothing fake about this sauce, unless you are fooled into thinking there is meat in it. Pair it with your favorite pasta!

Sugo Finto with Crispy Capers

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I couldn’t make homemade cecamariti and serve it with any old jarred sauce, now could I? I went ahead and tried to reproduce the entire dish from the first time I ever had this type of pasta and made my own sugo finto, aka fake sauce.

It’s called fake because it’s just like meat sauce (sugo di carne) but without the meat. Sugo finto relies on a vegetable soffritto to stand in for ground beef. An economical option when you cannot afford (or don’t eat) meat, and it’s quite easy to make.

Sugo Finto with Crispy Capers

The most important part of this recipe is to make sure you cut the vegetables really small. While traditionally this is done by hand, you can make things easier by pulsing them in a food processor.

I actually made this twice already and prepared it both by hand and in a food processor. Sure I felt some pride chopping them up real fine by hand, but I own a food processor for a reason.

Crispy Capers

When I had this dish at a restaurant in town it was also topped with crispy capers. I’m not normally a huge capers fan but these salty crispy bits were delightful. If there are any leftover they would be great on top of salad too.

Oh and don’t forget a healthy dose of freshly shredded Parmesan on top.

Sugo Finto with Crispy Capers

Two years ago: Lemon Lavender Madeleines

Three years ago: Poppin’ Pepsi Perfect Cocktail

Four years ago: Black Bean & Chorizo Soup with Sweety Drops

Five years ago: Corn on the Hog Pizza

Six years ago: Single Serving White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispies Treat

Eight years ago: Pretzel Crusted Peanut Butter Blondies with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Nine years ago: Spicy Mac and Cheese

Sugo Finto with Crispy Capers


Yield: 2 servings
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat



  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup small capers, drained and patted dry


  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 sprigs each of fresh parsley, sage, and rosemary, stems removed
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water


  1. In a medium saucepan, add olive oil over high heat. Add capers and fry for 3 minutes, or until crispy and golden. Remove from heat and strain capers with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the oil in the pan.
  2. Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and herbs together into a rough paste (or use a food processor). Place pan over medium-low heat and add the paste. Sauté gently until tender, making sure you do not brown the onions by occasionally adding a pinch of salt and a few drops of water.
  3. Add wine and let it cook off. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thickened. Remove from heat and serve with preferred pasta (I used cecamariti) topped with crispy capers.
Did You Make This Recipe?
I want to see! Tag me on Instagram at @TheSpiffyCookie and hashtag it #TheSpiffyCookie.

Source: Adapted from Memorie di Angelina and Food and Wine.

Did you make this recipe? I want to see!

Tag @THESPIFFYCOOKIE on Instagram and hashtag it #THESPIFFYCOOKIE

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Cecamariti Pasta February 21, 2024 - 3:15 pm

[…] served these morsels in a homemade sugo finto (fake sauce) topped with crispy capers and freshly shredded parmesan cheese, a recipe I will be […]

Amy (Savory Moments) May 3, 2020 - 11:11 am

I love capers and I bet this sauce would be a big hit with my kids! A great way to get everyone more veggies, too!

Erin May 3, 2020 - 12:13 pm

Definitely, they are minced up so small they would hardly notice.

Valentina | The Baking Fairy May 1, 2020 - 4:35 pm

Okay, this sauce sounds phenomenal! I will definitely have to try it. My mom chops up her soffritto in a food processor and it is such a game changer. And those crispy capers on top are a must-have!

Erin May 1, 2020 - 4:46 pm

Yea getting the veggies minced up nice and small is key! You definitely should try it.

Rebekah @ Making Miracles May 1, 2020 - 9:21 am

Those CAPERS!! I need to try this soon – what a great way to amp up the veggie content. Love red sauces for that!!

Erin May 1, 2020 - 10:41 am

This was a huge hit and not that complicated to make!


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