This recipe comes from the “Madison Bicentennial Cookbook,” compiled by the Madison Historical Society and published in 2004. It’s one of five recipes for Dynamites in the book. As in other community cookbooks, the recipe directions can leave something to be desired, and some of the cooks’ end notes will make you smile, such as the Dynamite recipe that reads: “Sandy’s recipe (well it’s close).” A Dynamite recipe attributed to Mickey’s Luncheonette comes with these instructions for the sauce: “Cook a long time.” This version of the sandwich says only that it’s “Joe’s recipe, as made by Theresa.”

1 bunch celery

6 large green peppers

6 medium onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 large garlic cloves


1 (42-ounce) can peeled tomatoes

1 (28-ounce) can puréed or crushed tomatoes

3 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1/4 cup Italian seasoning


1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cut celery, peppers and onions in 1/2 to 3/4 dice. In large pot (approximately 10 quart), heat over medium heat the olive oil. Add celery, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mince or squish the garlic cloves, then add with peppers and onions. Cook until the onions look wilted. Add all tomatoes (break up peeled tomatoes), then use about 1/2 cup water total to rinse all cans and add. Add tomato paste and 3 cans of water (rinse each can and add). In necessary, at this point, reduce heat so mixture just simmers. Add sugar, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and grated Parmesan. If mixture is too thick, add water, up to 1 cup. Stir occasionally so tomatoes won’t scorch and ruin sauce.


Makes 40-50

2 pounds 80-percent hamburger
2 eggs

1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup water

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mush up with your hands. Mold about 11/2-inch meatballs and place on sheet of waxed paper. Add meatballs carefully to simmering sauce. Cook until done, about 1 hour. Remove a meatball and check for doneness, also taste sauce. Add more Italian seasoning and/or red pepper flakes to taste. Salt to taste may also be added at this point, if needed. Serve on hot dog rolls or diagonal slices of French or Italian bread. The sauce and meatballs freeze very nicely for future use.

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