Now, that’s wrong on soooooo many levels...
But there is a grain of truth in it. Italian food in Italy is not the Italian-American food served at most restaurants in the U.S. And that’s surprising to some American travelers. Italian pizza does not always have sauce, for example, and the crust is generally very thin and crispy -- almost like a cracker. Pasta dishes tend to be simpler, the plates smaller. I don’t think I’ve ever seen garlic bread in Italy. And a latte is a cup of hot milk, not a coffee drink.
Most Italian restaurants in the U.S. serve an Italian-American cuisine. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing! Each region in Italy boasts a distinctive palate. Where large groups of immigrants from Milan settled in the U.S., there polenta and risotto may be more prevalent than pasta. Where the immigrants came from Venice, delicate seafood dominates. And where the Sicilians settled, tomatoes abound and the spices tend to be a bit... spicier.
I’m partial to New-York-Little-Italy-style Italian-American food. Rich, hearty, and flavorful. And I have a marinara recipe that simply is fabulous.
I can’t take credit for this recipe. It has been a family favorite since my mom saw it in a newspaper long ago. Brava! to whoever created it. It is delicious!
The World’s Best Marinara SauceI use it as sauce over pasta, on pizzas, in lasagne... anywhere. I usually double this recipe and freeze part of it in individual servings:
2 1/2 cloves minced garlic
5 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
28 oz. can Italian pear tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/2 c. red wine
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bay leaf
In a large pot, saute the garlic, parsley in olive oil. Stir in all of the other ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer (covered) for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf.
A Note: this recipe makes for a very chunky sauce. Not a fan of chunky tomato sauce? Me either. I use a stick blender or a regular blender to make it nice and smooth after removing the bay leaf.
- fill muffin cups with sauce
- freeze them
- pop out the “pucks” of sauce and store in a ziplock baggie -- perfect to microwave for one person.
Update: January 21You might remember my visit to the Mercati Rialto a few months ago. Today Venice Daily Photo has an image from Venice's famous market along with a recipe for a fresh tomato sauce, Venetian-style. Enjoy!