Red Sauce How Italian Food Became American

Amatriciana Sauce – Italy, 1950

By on Tuesday, April 19th, 2022 at 8:55 am | 43 views

Il Cucchiaio D’Argento was a massive volume of Italian recipes published in post-war Italy, and quickly became the kind of classic given to young couples as a wedding present.

For fifty years, Il Cucchiaio D’Argento remained a mystery to English speakers, since no translation existed. Then in 2005, the book finally arrived, but to the dismay of Americans, the recipes from Italy tend to have less instructions than American recipes. Later versions of The Silver Spoon have updated the translation.

Numerous official versions of Amatriciana preparations exist with all’amatriciana and alla matriciana both referencing similar sauces. In the name is a clue: is the sauce from a place or from a person from the place? The town of Amatrice claims ownership of the original recipe, true recipe, but Rome has a variation also, prepared by chefs from Amatrice.

The Silver Spoon was part of a broader creation of nationalized identity that has and continues to evolve since 19th century unification, and offers a standard base-line of Amatriciana sauce across the country.

Recipes are adapted from the 2005 translation.


½ guanciale (pancetta in 2005 English translation)
1 onion
34 oz tomatoes
½ chile pepper (1 whole chile pepper in 2005 English translation)


Slice meat.
Cook in oil over low heat.
Add onion.
Cook ten minutes.
Add tomatoes, chile and season.
Simmer about 40 minutes.
Toss with spaghetti.