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


History



Breadsticks and Pasta: How Olive Garden Americanized Italian Food

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Wednesday, November 8th, 2023 | 2,353 views

The Olive Garden restaurant in Times Square arrived in New York City just as the theater district was being revived. Here the restaurant sign has been updated to an LED screen and towers over the subway entrance at 49th Street

The Olive Garden restaurant chain is often ridiculed by Italian Americans. The experience is inauthentic, the pasta overcooked, and the Alfredo sauce made with heavy cream. Yet, in one respect, the success of the chain represents the acceptance and integration of Italian American culture as simply mainstream American culture.

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A Brief History of New York City’s Oldest Pizzerias

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Tuesday, October 10th, 2023 | 6,833 views

Patsy's Pizza in East Harlem is the first NYC slice

Pizza was born in Naples, but it was the Italian immigrants in New York City who mastered it. Today, pizza grown into a truly American food available in every corner of the country. Yet, a little more than a century ago, it was an unknown ethnic food few Americans had ever heard of.

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The History of Philadelphia’s Italian Roast Pork Sandwich

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Tuesday, September 26th, 2023 | 3,623 views

Philadelphia Italian roast pork sandwich from DiNic's in Reading Terminal Market with provolone cheese and broccoli rabe on a sesame seeded bun

Philadelphia might be best known for its cheesesteak, but there’s a secret sandwich lurking in the city of Brotherly love. The Philadelphia Italian Roast Pork sandwich is a local delicacy created in the city a century ago by Italian immigrants, and it’s since become a local favorite that’s hard to find outside the city.

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The Feast of San Gennaro Returns to NYC This Week

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Friday, September 15th, 2023 | 1,179 views

sausages grilling at the Feast of San Gennaro in 2022

The Feast of San Gennaro kicked off last night in New York City. One of the largest celebrations of its kind in the United States, the feast has been celebrated since 1926.

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Vodka Sauce Is Having A Moment

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Monday, April 17th, 2023 | 5,350 views

Vodka sauce eover rigatoni

Vodka sauce is suddenly trendy again. The creamy, sometimes spicy, pink-orange sauce is an Italian American classic. Ella Quittner at Bon Appétit takes a look at why this dish is suddenly popular.

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Celebrate National Pizza Day With Great Pizza History

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Thursday, February 9th, 2023 | 1,103 views

A cheese pie from best pizza

February 9 is National pizza day. Don’t worry if you thought this was in October, which is National Pizza Month. Today is dedicated to pizzas of all sorts — so don’t confuse today with September 5, dedicated to National Cheese Pizza Day, September 20 for Pepperoni Pizza, and October 11 for Sausage pizza. Apparently, the nation loves pizza.

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Shrimp fra Diavolo

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Tuesday, August 30th, 2022 | 975 views

Shrimp Fra Diavolo with squid ink pasta -- tomato sauce and black pasta

Lobster fra diavolo was an early Italian American invention combining large American lobsters with southern style flavors. Shrimp is a low cost alternative.

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History Through Travel in Mark Rotella’s Memoir Stolen Figs

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Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022 | 1,166 views

Mark Rotella's Memoir Stolen Figs

Mark Rotella’s memoir is not entirely focused on food, but it does speak to the Italian American immigrant experience.

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The History of French Bread Pizza

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Tuesday, July 12th, 2022 | 2,294 views

french bread pizza made with old bread

French Bread Pizza is often associated with Stouffer’s, the frozen food giant that helped popularize lasagna. French Bread Pizza followed a few years later. Stouffer’s launched the product in 1974 with an eye toward pizza ovens, then an increasingly popular home appliance.

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What Do Pants Have to Do With Pizza?

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Tuesday, June 21st, 2022 | 1,661 views

Pants and pizza come together to make calzone

You might be wondering what a pair of pants and a pizza has to do with calzone.

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