Red Sauce How Italian Food Became American

The Book

The history of red sauce as a cuisine is rich and complicated. Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American tells the story of Italian-American food arriving in the United States during the great wave of Italian immigrant and the evolution of recipes like spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine Alfredo, spaghetti puttanesca, lasagna, pizza and other “red sauce” favorites as they transition from foreign ethnic foods into simply American foods. The book is forthcoming in April of 2022 from Rowman & Littlefield.

The book is now available for pre-order. You can also stay up to date with the latest news by signing up for the Red Sauce email list.

Pre-Order Now

Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American is now available for pre-order sales from your favorite bookstores.

Barne & Noble

Greenlight Bookstore

Books Are Magic


Books A Million

Indie Bound


Like a bowl overflowing with pasta on some nonna's table, there's more than enough goodness to go around in Ian MacAllen's loving tribute to the immigrant food that helped change America. You'll read Red Sauce and understand the history of a certain strain of Italian cuisine and how it shaped our palates, but most importantly, you'll be hungry for more.

— Jason Diamond, author of “The Sprawl" and "Searching for John Hughes”

There's nothing more American than pizza—so much so that Ladies Home Journal once compared it to eating an apple pie. This, of course, might come as news to its Italian creators. In this fascinating work, Ian MacAllen expertly unpacks how America fell in love with Italian food. Filled with humor and fascinating tid-bits, Red Sauce will give you something excellent to talk about over your next plate of spaghetti.

— Jennifer Wright, author of “Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes That Fought Them”

With this entertaining and appetizing cultural history, MacAllen, like a resourceful chef, offers his readers something entirely new: the compelling story of how Italian food entered the American kitchen, and how it evolved from a foreign oddity into a ubiquitous staple.

— Nicholas Mancusi, author of “A Philosophy of Ruin”

At a time when the food media seem to have forgotten the appeal and importance of Italian-American food, Ian MacAllen’s Red Sauce is a restorative whose diligent research and engaging writing puts everything in perspective and shows why Italian-American food continues to be a favorite both here and abroad.

— John Mariani, author, “How Italian Food Conquered the World” and “The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink”

Ian MacAllen’s Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American is a delightful read! Clear, entertaining, and insightful. Well researched and includes historical recipes. It is a significant contribution to understanding Italian American foodways. P.S. I love red sauce!

— Andrew F. Smith, author of “The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture and Cookery”

An entertaining and authoritative account of Italian-American cuisine and the restaurants that popularized it. The catalogue and description of sauces is by itself a work of art.

— Paul Freedman, Yale University