Red Sauce – An American Icon?

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Thank you, Bon Appetit, for “Red Sauce America ” a celebration of the Italian American Restaurants we love. (1)  .

Who doesn’t have a memory, or many, made in an Italian-American “red sauce” restaurant? I do.

As I child, my family frequented Banchero’s, in San Leandro, California. Your meal came in courses – a relish tray, soup, iceberg lettuce salad, red-sauced spaghetti and ravioli – all served family style. Then came your entree, and finally, spumoni or bright orange sherbet. We ate there so many times I can taste each course and smell the chicken livers my Nana always ordered. 

Despite the Banchero’s meals and two trips to Italy, I didn’t understand red sauce, or Italian-American restaurants, until I married a Del Matto, son of the owners of Del Mattos Italian restaurant in Columbus Ohio. It took pots of my husband’s red sauce and a few trips to Ohio to get it. 

When my kids were born, they needed no introduction. Red sauce was baked into their little souls and remains a top comfort food.

A red sauce “day to remember” happened on a trip to Ohio. I asked “Papa” to take us into the kitchen of Del Matto’s restaurant so my children could help him make red sauce and fresh pasta – his way.

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Now, years later, both kids are grown and creating their own versions of red sauce. Del Mattos restaurant is closed and my father-in-law has passed, but red sauce memories live large in our family.

Here in Seattle, we’ve got a favorite “red sauce” restaurant. But there’s nothing better than adding a couple of leaves to the table and gathering a crowd for simple  spaghetti and red sauce.

Hungry? Link to my husband Brad’s red sauce. In a pinch I make it, but his always seems to taste better. In a pinch I make it, but his always seems to taste better.

  1. Red Sauce America, Bon Appetit Magazine, May 2019.
  2. Lorelle’s Red Sauce Recipe

© Lorelle Del Matto 2019

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

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