This week Bon Appetit put together one of the most comprehensive pieces on Italian- American Cuisine. They titled their work Red Sauce America and put together over a dozen different articles addressing all sorts of Red Sauce culture from Six Degrees of Chicken Cutlets, to Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know about Rao’s, and even the History of Buca di Beppo
Tom and I talk about our favorite Red Sauce joints, the difference between Italian and Italian-American food, and what how both of our death row meals are Red Sauce dishes.
Tutto Bene translated to Everything Good, but more importantly, was the restaurant of my childhood. My father’s office was across the street from them and to this day is still probably where I’ve had the most meals of my life. Chicken Parmigiana, Veal Scarparella, Veal Sorrentino, and of course the Baked Clams. Writing this has me salivating over the memories of dipping crunchy bread into the leftovers of the baked clam tray, the oil, lemon, butter, parsley, and breadcrumbs. This is a visceral experience that can only be replicated at Red Sauce joints
In Italian Cuisine Pasta is not a side dish. It is its own course to be respected and appreciated. I think that this is something that Italian-American cuisine gets wrong. I understand how inexpensive pasta is, but to offer it as a complimentary side dish cheapens it. Pasta’s potential is limitless and can go toe to toe with any type of dish. To quote The Big Night “Sometimes the spaghetti likes to be alone”