Red Sauce America - Food, Culture, and Italian American Experience

Caruso Sauce in 1939

By on Tuesday, July 19th, 2022 at 8:46 am | 1,017 views

This spaghetti and red sauce is not spaghetti -- but rather its bucatini -- and its not Caruso sauce -- because who wants to eat sauce with liver in it

Chicken liver isn’t the most popular of meats these days, but for most of the 20th century it was the key component of a popular spaghetti dish.

Spaghetti alla Caruso is so named for the famous opera singer Enrico Caruso. Caruso achieved celebrity status, with fans following him around, buying products with his name on them, and eating the foods he ate. And Caruso liked chicken liver.

The singer also leveraged his celebrity into product endorsements for things like olive oil. But he also lent his name to a restaurant chain based in New York City, the Caruso spaghetti houses. The restaurants were spread across Manhattan and even had a location in Newark, New Jersey.

The Diane Ashley cookbook, Where to Dine In Thirty-Nine, includes a recipe from the restaurant chain for spaghetti Caruso, provided by chef Antonia Ricondo.

The below recipe is adapted from the collection of recipes.

Serve over pasta


1 medium onion
¼ lb butter
1 quart tomato puree
1 lb fresh mushrooms
1 lb chicken livers
3 whole pimentos
2 bay leaves
Pinch of nutmeg


Heat chopped onion in butter.
Brown onions.
Dice mushrooms.
Add mushrooms.
Brown mushrooms.
Add tomato puree and bay leaves.
Simmer for 45 minutes.
Dice chicken livers.
Brown livers in oil.
Strain oil.
Add livers to tomatoes.
Add diced pimentos, salt and pepper, and nutmeg.
Serve over spaghetti.