Angela’s Spaghetti Sauce (Part 2)

Angela’s Spaghetti Gravy

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (28 oz.) crushed or diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cans (6 oz. ea.) tomato paste
  • 2 cans (8 oz. ea.) tomato sauce
  • handful of fresh basil
  • 4 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • crushed red pepper—add to desired hotness
  • salt, pepper to taste

Sauté onion in olive oil until transparent. Add garlic and cook 3 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Stir in tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Add fresh basil and all other seasonings. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, but the longer the better. Stir occasionally.

OK, so in my last Instructor’s Blog post I shared some lessons I learned making a fantastic new (but totally unfamiliar to me) spaghetti sauce recipe. And yes, since we were deluged with requests for the sauce recipe it is included here. (Some of you are more focused on your bellies than your business success!)

NOTE: “Papa Nick” Paolella, one of the founding partners of Jon-Don and the inspiration for Angela’s recipe, is adamant that no true Italian would call this recipe a “sauce”. It technically is referred to as a “gravy”. So thank you Nick for this “gravy recipe” and all your support of the Strategies for Success program.

The big lesson I focused on last week was I really “didn’t know what I didn’t know” about spaghetti sauce. (Even though I had always felt like I was an expert cook!) So here is the first business lesson cut-and-pasted from Part 1:

“So, until we take the time to learn (or someone takes the time to teach us those business lessons we don’t already know) we are limiting our companies to the smaller universe of the things we do know.” Profound stuff, huh?

So continuing forward with a second “spaghetti sauce” principle, I learned that I had to use ALL of the ingredients in the recipe if I wanted to have a truly great sauce. The sauce I had been making previous to this one was okay. But, until Angela Buege showed me the secrets to making real Italian spaghetti sauce, I didn’t realize my sauce was just a pale imitation of the “real McCoyiano”. (For years I had been fooling, even lying to, myself!)

The same is true in business. To build a successful business we have to attend to ALL of the different functions of the business—even things we might not enjoy doing or might not be familiar with—because these activities are necessary to building a successful business. (Too many of us fall prey to what Steve Toburen calls “Displacement Activities”!) So here is your challenge…

Each of us has a business skill we’re better at than others. (Or at least tasks that we enjoy more than other essential things.) Some of us are good at the operations side of our business—we enjoy the technical elements of the services we offer; we enjoy scheduling the crews; we like the mechanical side of things. Some of us (but too few actually!) enjoy the sales and marketing side of our businesses—we love to design ads or figure out new ways to convince prospects our company is far superior to our competition. A very few are good at the financial or administrative end of the business. Some are good at the hiring, training and motivating employees.

But here is Spaghetti Sauce Lesson #2: Even though we may be better at (or enjoy it more) one particular area of our business that does NOT mean we can ignore the others. As with Angela’s spaghetti sauce, it takes all of the ingredients to make the right combination for a great sauce. In business, it takes paying attention to all of the different functions to build a truly successful company.

With Spaghetti Sauce Lesson #3 I learned the importance of slowly simmering the sauce. I’ll confess, there are times when I’m in a hurry, and I don’t let my sauces simmer as long as they should. Now with rapid cooking it may still be an edible, even tasty, spaghetti sauce. But “a sauce made in a hurry” will never reach its true potential of when the herbs and spices have the time to simmer and release all their goodness and become a truly great sauce! (I’m getting hungry again!)

Businesses, just like great spaghetti sauces, require time to reach their full potential. Oh sure, we’ve all heard the overnight success stories, the shining stars of the business press. And we can all open a jar of instant spaghetti sauce. But it’s not the same.

Business systems and procedures take time for the kinks to work out and start running efficiently. People take time to become comfortable with each other and with new ways of doing things. New hires take time to integrate into a new company and a new business culture. And yes, this “culture” takes time to “simmer” and it very likely will need you as the owner and manager to tweak it along the way.

We can all go for a quick buck in business just like we can open a jar of instant spaghetti sauce. But for long-term profitability and lasting success nothing works quite like slowly simmering the people and processes of a well organized business. And yes, your SFS team feels privileged to be your “partners for success” in this process!

Chuck Violand (more about Chuck)
SFS Instructor
CEO Violand Management Associates

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