SECRET SAUCE “SEGRETO”
Excerpt from Daniel Bellino Zwicke’s “SUNDAY SAUCE”
Due for November 30, 2013 Publication
Tagliolini with Salsa Segreto. Secret Sauce? We lost our beloved Old-School Italian Red-Sauce Restaurant Gino’s of Lexington Avenue a couple years back. Gino’s opened in 1945 by Neapolitan Immigrant Gino Circicello was a Gem of a Restaurant loved by its many loyal customers who kept the place packed and vibrant night-after-night. The place was perfect; Great Food and good wine at reasonable prices coupled with excellent service by friendly attentive waiters inside a homey comfy dining-room that everyone loved, from its cozy little Bar at the front of the restaurant, its Phone Booth (one of the last surviving in New York), and the famed Scalamandre Zebra Wallpaper that is as much a part of Gino’s as the tenured old waiters and the popular Chicken Parmigiano.
Among all the tasty dishes with the Pasta with Salsa Segreto, “The Secret Sauce,” it was as tasty as can be, and a perennial favorite with Gino’s legendary clientele, including the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Joe DiMaggio, and a string of luminaries to long to name. Gino’s had many wonderful dishes that were soul satisfy, unpretentious, but tasty as heck. They were all the usual suspects of Italian Red-Sauce Joints everywhere; from Baked Clams Areganata, to Shrimp Cocktail, to Spaghetti With Clam Sauce, Lasagna, the famed Veal Pamigiano, “the entire menu.”
I used to go to Gino’s with my cousin Joe, my sister Barbara came a couple times, as my brother Michael. But it was usually me and Cousin Joe and if anyone else tagging along. Now I love my pasta as all good Italian-Americans do, but my cousin Joe? He had me beat. The guy loves his pasta, and wanted it practically every day. I believe we tried the Secret Sauce on our first trip there together. I think with Tagliolini, but you can have it with Spaghetti, Rigatoni or whichever pasta you like. Well we loved it from the very first, and would get it every time we went. Often we’d get Baked Clams and Shrimp Cocktail, followed by a Half Portion each of Tagliolini with Salsa Segreto, and as our main we might split a Veal Milanese with a “Nice Bottle of Chianti.” We’d finish the meal with Espresso and a couple of Desserts, maybe a Tira Mi Su and a Chocolate Tartufo.
So the Secret Sauce, what’s in it you want to know? Yes I identified the Secret ingredients one day, I made it, and it tastes exactly the same, and that’s as tasty as can possibly be, a 10 out of 10, you can’t get any better. It’s quite simple and you’d be amazed, but that’s the essence of all Italian Cooking, simply tasty. The Secret of The Secret Sauce is, “I shouldn’t tell you but I will.” I should be charging you $100 just for this one recipe but I won’t. “I hope you know what a bargain you people are all getting; my Sunday Sauce, Clemenza’s Sunday Sauce, my Lentil Soup recipe, Marinara Sauce, and so much more.” I’m getting robbed. But here you go, The Salsa Segreto (Secret Sauce) from the former Gino’s Restaurant on Lexington Avenue across from Bloomingdales is _________ and __________________ added to a simple tomato sauce as you toss the pasta (your Choice) with the Sauce. Basta! That’s it! The Cat is out of the Bag. Enjoy!