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My second great-grandfather, Cataldo Sciabbarasi, was born in 1871 in Sicily. In 1900, he arrived in NY at the age of 29. In his 30s, Cataldo lived in Buffalo, New York on Peacock St. (at various addresses) and was a laborer.One of those addresses was 41 Peacock St., the address this blog is named after.

This street is no longer in existence, but it was located in the area in the map below.

On various censuses, He is listed as Cataldo Scabaraza, Cattaldo Scabarozzo, and Cataldo Scabaraso. At some point, he and Calogera, my 2nd great-grandmother, were married and they had about eight children (I am still working on the final count).

After his wife passed, Cataldo lived with his daughters Josephine and Jennie. Josephine eventually married, but Jennie never did. He lived with Jennie for the rest of his life. At one point, they lived at 336 Virginia on the West Side of Buffalo, NY.

336 Virginia

They also lived at 77 Maryland St.

77 Maryland Dt.

And 460 Fargo. For much of his life, Cataldo was listed as a laborer, and he helped to lay the early streets of Buffalo, NY.

460 Fargo

On February 17, 1949, Cataldo disappeared when he was 78 years old. He left a bar/restaurant one night and never returned home. My grandmother told me that he loved to walk along the river and they believed that is where he was last seen. Police units and divers searched for him and his body for weeks. His body was never found.

Cataldo and Calogera Sciabarasi headstone, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery Buffalo, NY

Another interesting story, possibly tied to Cataldo’s disappearance, is that Cataldo and Calogera, had a son, Sam Laraiso. The family may have changed their name upon arriving, but Sam kept the last name Laraiso. My grandmother said there were Sicilian mafia ties in the family. Therefore, Cataldo may have been born Cataldo Laraiso, but I can’t find any information to prove this or otherwise.


Pasta sauce is surely a staple in Sicily and many families start with a pulp or base. This recipe is for a basic passata sauce. Passata is an uncooked tomato puree strained of seeds and chunks. It is unlike tomato sauce or paste because it hasn’t been cooked. I had heard of passata and picked up a bottle of Cento passata last year. I was looking for a way to use this bottle and stumbled across a recipe for a simple tomato sauce with a passata base in the cookbook, Sicily, by Melissa Muller. It was a simple sauce for Summer time for the Spiced Sweet Ricotta Ravioli. I also had a chance to use one of the four basil varieties growing in my herb garden. Here are the recipe and my process.

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Print Recipe
Simple Passata Tomato Sauce
Servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 24 oz. passata
  • 24 oz. water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 10 leaves basil
Servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 24 oz. passata
  • 24 oz. water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 10 leaves basil
Instructions
  1. Saute onions in oil until clear and slightly soft. About 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and saute another 10 seconds, until fragrant.
  3. Add passata and water to the pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer and stir in salt and 5 basil leaves.
  5. Simmer for one hour, stirring every 10 minutes with a wooden spoon. It will reduce in volume by half.
  6. Add more fresh basil leaves when the sauce is ready.
Recipe Notes
  • I topped fresh ravioli with this sauce, but it is also great tossed with spaghetti and sprinkled with grated aged cheese.
  • Melissa Muller recommends pulp or passata made by Vantia, Cento, or La Valle. Buffalo, NY grocery stores carry Cento, for sure.
  • You can also make your own tomato pulp from organic and full ripe tomatoes.
  • This isn't my typical Sunday Sauce. For that, click here. 

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