Wine for Sunday Sauce? What do you drink? Which wine pairs best with Sunday Sauce, thee Supreme Dish of Italian-America? Is it Chianti, most iconic of all Italian Wines? Perhaps Aglianico or Piedrossa from the region of Campania where the roots of Italian-American Sunday Sauce Gravy begin? Or a Sicilian Wine like Nero d’Avola or Norello Mascallese? If you trace the roots of Italian-American Sunday Sauce and the people who created it, Sicilians are among the top of the list. Now, I know since you came to this page that bottle of Carlo Rossi “Paisano” just had to catch your eye. And I’m sure most of you are asking the question, “Carlo Rossi Paisano, are You Kidding?” The answer. “No, Not Really.” Well I’m not saying it’s the best choice. OK so we have to match a good wine with that fabulous Sunday Sauce of yours. What to drink?
I’m here to tell you, it can be one or more of many wines, and don’t count a wine like Carlo Rossi Paisano out. “You’re Joking?” You say. No. Listen, this can be your wine, maybe not. I myself have drank some of the World’s Priciest, and so-called greatest wines in the World, “Trophy Wines,” like; Sassicaia, Gaja Barbaresco. La Tache, Chateau Petrus, Cahteau Haute Brion, Petrus, Chateasu Cheval Blanc, Chateau Latour, all the great Brunello and barolo wines, great vintage Champagnes, you name it, “I’ve had it.” And with my knowledge of wine, I can tell you, a lot of it is hype, and Marketing BS, and sometimes not. And I’ll tell you this, do not be so much of a snob, a Wine Snob. You see that Carlo Rossi, with all the prestigous wines that I’ve consumed over the years, I’m not above drinking that. Carlo Rossi .. The wine has special meaning and affection for me. It’s one of the two wines my uncles always bought for our Sunday Family Meals. Meals of Meatballs, Sunday Sauce “Gravy,” Ravioli, Veal Marsala, Chicken Cactitore. My Uncles Tony and Frank always had either Carlo Rossi paisano or Gallo Hearty Burgungy on hand. They were their wines, and they only had other wines if someone brought something like Bolla Valpolicella, Rufino Chianti or some other wine. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Paisano or Gallo Hearty Burgundy are great wines, “No.” But they are not that bad. They are Italian-American Wines made by Italian-Americans and have social significance to Italian-Americans. These wines are part of our history, as are the wines from the great Robert Mondavi, The Mondavi Family, Francis Ford Coppola and other Italian Families in America.
So what am I saying? What wines to drink with the Sunday Sauce or any home-made Italian American Meal? Well, actually most of the time I do drink wines from Italy with my Sunday Sauce or whatever Italian food we’re making. The Carlo Rossi is just when we eat over Uncle Tony’s house with Uncle Frank and all the wonderful meals with Aunt Fran, Aunt Helen, Mommy, Cousin Tony, and my brothers and sister and the whole family. No, I’m not above drinking Carlo Rossi or Gallo if my Uncles are serving it. When we’re eating at home, we usually love to drink Chianti, most times, sometimes Barolo, Barbera, or Brunello. But most often it’s Chianti which I love and it goes quite well with just about anything we eat, especially Meatballs, Sausage, and Sunday Sauce. Chinati comes from Tuscany and is a medium bodied wine made mostly from Sangiovese (The Blood of Jobe), and with small percentages of other native Tuscan grapes like; Colorino, Malvasia Nero, Cannaiolo, or Ciegolo.
One thing I must say is, that I usually don’t like wines like Big, concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah from California or Australia. To me, these are the last wines I would ever want to drink with Italian food. Reason. These wines are usually to rich, and because of that, they clash with the food instead of complementing them. the wines you want to drink should have good flavor, but be light to medium in body and weight. Not Bif, Fat, Rich, and concentrated. “No Bueno!”
La TAVOLA Is Aailable in Paperback and KINDLE on AMAZON.com
It’s Finally here! After 40 Years. The Recipe for Corleone Family Caporegime Pete Clemenza’s Famous Meatball Sunday Sauce in Daniel B. Bellino’s wonderful new book, “Clemenza’s Meatball Sunday Sauce” It’s da Bomb! Italian America Favorite Recipes, including Goodfellas Sunday Sauce and Henry’s Goodfella Veal & Peppers, Pasta Fazool and much more. This Book is a Gem and Must Have for any and all Italian-Americans or anyone who wants to eat like one. Basta!
The Bellino’s “My Granparents Philipo & Josephina Bellino with My Mother “Lucia” and Uncle Tony …. Lodi, New Jersey, probably late 1940’s or early 1950’s
Picture of The Bellino Family, Lodi, New Jersey, possibly late 1940s or early 1950s .. From left to right, Grandpa Philipo Bellino, Mommy, Lucia Bellino, Uncle Tony, “Tony Bellino” and Grandma Josephina Bellino … Not pictured, Lucy and Tony’s sister Lilly and Brothers James and Frank Bellino. My Grandparents came to America through Ellis Island in 1904 from Lecara Freddi, Sicily, Italy … Lecara Freddi is the same town the Sinatra Family are from, as well as famed gangster Lucky Luciano. Lecara Freddi is not far from Corleone, about 17 miles.
My Grandfather had a Shoemaker Shop on Main Street in Lodi, and my Grandparents, Mother, and my aunts and uncles.
Yes Boys and girls “Mario Batali” is no longer the only Mario in Town ! The town of Greenwich Village that is where Mario Batali has been The King Mario for some years now with such renowned restaurants as; Po’, Babbo, and Lupa .. Here comes Mario, Mario Carbone that is, a former employee of Mr. Batali at Del Posto where Mario Carbone was a Sous-Chef before opening two renowned restaurants of his own, Torrisi Italian Specialties and “Parm” both side-by-side in
Noho / Little Italy …
Mario Carbone is now opening his namesake restaurant “Carbone” in the old Rocco’s space on Sullivan Street across from Mario Batali’s Roman Trattoria “Lupa.” Mario Carbone with Co-Chef and Business Partner Rich Torrisi unlike Batali who mostly serves hard-core-authentic Italian Cuisine (of Italy) with Batali twists here-and-there will be serving Italian-American Classics. Mario Carbone that is. Carbone promises old New York Italian Favorites like; Baked Clams, Meatballs, Linguine Vongole (Clam Sauce), Lobster Fra D’Avlo and other Italian and Italian-American Classics. Carbone also says that they are looking to evoke 1950’s Downtown New York Italian style restaurant.
Torrisi and Carbone have done a fine job with their two previous restaurants Parm and Torrisi Italian Specialties and we’re hoping they will continue, and expect they will at “Carbone.” These guys are loved by their followers, yet disdained by some and have already receive quite a bit of negativity on the Internet it seems from the mainly fans of Rocco’s who don’t want to see these guys at Rocco’s and in the neighborhood. I for one used to go to Rocco’s and loved the place. I also like what Torissi and Carbone are doing, and I’m looking forward to Carbone being quite good. If I can’t have Rocco’s, I’ll take Carbone, and am hoping and betting this Mario is gonna be a Winner in The Village, and Greenwich Village Italian and the long honored history it has. good Luck boys!
Welcome “Carbone” with No Regrets to Rocco’s … Yes, this is what I for one am hoping to say after the most anticipated new New York Restaurant “Carbone” has opened and is in operation, which is supposed to be this coming Friday, March 9, 2013 … We have already said goodbye to an old friend, Rocco’s .. Well, me for one, as I am certain that of all the throngs of followers who are sure to pack into Rocco’s from day 1 (Friday 3/913) it is also almost certain that I will amongst the very few, 1% of the total who will pack Carbone and have eaten at its predecessor Rocco’s. Yes, I enjoyed eating at Rocco’s a number of times over the years. Rocco’s was one of just a few Old School Red-Sauce Italian Restaurant left in New York. I dying breed, much loved but going the way of the DoDo Bird. Rocco’s was solid, old school Italian New York, decor, food, and service.
Well the guys who have taken over the old Rocco’s space, Chef/Owners Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi it so happens are the new keepers and reviver’s of the so-called Red-Sauce joints. Restaurants that have become a dying breed and much maligned, it now seems is the hot new thing in Italian eating in New York. First spawned by The Two Frankies, Frank Castronovo and Frank Facanelli .. The two Frankeis were the first to do it back in 2006 by opening a Old School Italian Red Sauce Restaurant in Carroll Gardens Brooklyn. A casual Italian Restaurant that featured Red-Sauce Italian American favorites like; Meatballs, Braciole, and homemade Cavatelli. The restaurant with a nice casual decor, good service, tasty old New York Italian Food favorites at fare prices and the passion of the two Frnakies proved to be a winnining combination and instant hit at Frankies Spuntino which with a few short years gave birth to two more Frankies restaurants in Manhattan’s lower East Side and in Greenwich Village.
Shoot ahead about four years and we have Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi opening a great little Italian Trattoria that operates as a very-casual sort Italian Deli serving Meatball Parm Sandwiches, fresh Roast Turkey Sandwiches, and Meatball Parm Sandwiches, Soup, and a few pastas by day and a 5 Course Set Menu as a restaurant my night. This little Italian Deli/Trattoria that featured Italian and Italian American Food with a bit of a modern twist and the Carbone-Torrisi touch. And quite a good touch at that. Torrisi was wonderful executed by Torrisi and Carbone and their place Troorisi Italian Specialties was pretty much a well deserved instant success. With this quick and wonderful success of Torrisi Italian Specialty it wasn’t long before the boys opened their second restaurant to be called PARM which featured Updated Red-Sauce Italian-American Food. The restaurant Parm was opened right next door to Torrisi. Parm was even more of an instant success than Torrisi Italian Specialty and from day # 1 has been packed day and night every single day, and i do man packed and I do mean every single day. A huge Success!
Now we come to the unfortunate demise of Rocco’s, of which the owner was unable to support a huge jump in his Rent once his old lease was expired. he decided to throw in the towel, and close Rocco’s … A sad day in Greenwich Village, and a sad day for me. But when I heard that Torrisi and Mario Carbone who I had worked with at Del Posto would be opening a new place in the old Rocco’s space, my sadness quickly waned. These guys do things right. I really like Torrisi Specialties and Parm and was excited at the prospect of Mario opening a new place around the block from my apartment.
Funny thing, when you go into this new restaurant that used to be Rocco’s, you are most likely to see many dishes that you would have seen at Rocco’s. Dishes like Baked Clams, Lobster Fra d’Avlo, Spaghetti or Linguine Vongole, Veal Picatta, Braciole, and such.
“You’re seeing more protein at the table now, because they can afford it. They’re becoming more American. They’re embracing what it means to be American. They’re like: ‘I’m going to have protein for days. I’m going to show off. We’re going to have meatballs tonight, and they’re huge!’ ”
……. Mario Carbone ……
“It’s midcentury, Italian-American fine dining,” “When you look at the menu at this restaurant,” he said, “it’s going to look very familiar, which is the goal.”
“The table should be covered with food,” Mr. Carbone said. “If we do this right, you should not be able to see the cloth.” says Mr. Carbone
So yes, we Welcome Carbone. I do for one, and one who has actually eaten at Rocco’s numerous times over the years. I loved Rocco’s and was sorry to see them go. But they are gone and nothing I can do about that. I can turn my back against Carbone, but knowing Mario and what a fine Chef and restauranteur he is, I’m certainly not going to do that. I will welcome Carbone, both the restaurant and Mario into my neighborhood and I spotted I enjoyed over the years, Rocco’s. And I’m looking forward to having many fine meals and wonderful times at Carbone over the years to come. “I’m sure I will.”
Note: I will be going to eat at Carbone soon, hoefully this Friday, but certainly very soon. And when I do, I shall report back, and I’m betting that I will love it, and again Welcome Carbone and No Regrets for Rocco’s …..
CARBONE to EVOKE 1950’s DOWNTOWN ITALIAN NEW YORK …. 181 Thompson Street, Greenwich Village, New York
in “La TAVOLA” Available on AMAZON.com
One of the great traditions of the Italian American enclave in the U.S. is the ritual of Sunday afternoon when the entire family gets together for Mama’s or Nona’s famed “Sunday Sauce.” What is it? Well there are a number of variations on the theme. Most Sunday Sauce’s are made with Italian Sausage, Braciola, and Meatballs. Some people make theirs with pork ribs, beef neck, and possibly chicken thighs and backs. These meats are slowly simmered for several hours with tomato, minced onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. I generally like to make my Sunday Sauce with sausage, meatballs, and pork ribs. Other times I’ll make it with sausage, ribs, and braciola. An old tradition in some families is that mother or grandma would start the sauce early on a Sunday morning, get it simmering away for a couple hours on top of the stove, then put it in the oven for a couple hours while everyone goes to church, the sauce slowly simmers and when you get back home, the sauce is ready.
The Sunday Sauce that my mother would make was with sausage, meatballs and beef braciola. My memories are vivid watching my mother stuffing the braciola with garlic,
parsley, Pecorino, and pignoli nuts, then sewing up the bundles with a needle and thread so they would hold together while simmering in the gravy (many families all over the New York and around the country simply call Sunday Sauce “Gravy”). Another fond memory was helping my mother roll and shape the meatballs.
As for me, my Sunday Sauce will vary depending on my mood. One thing I love to do when making the sauce is the addition of pork spare ribs, which not to many people use, I love it.
Whenever people eat my sauce, they go nuts for the ribs and some are surprised cause they might never have had them in a sauce before. They didn’t know that you could use pork spareribs. The ribs are traditional with some but not everybody. It is quite a shame for those who don’t add the ribs because they give the sauce some wonderful flavor and they are incredibly delicious to eat after braising in the sauce for a couple of hours. Whenever I make the sauce and I’m dishing it out to friends and family, I always make sure that I have my fare share of the ribs. Pork ribs cooked in this manner, simmering in the sauce are oh so succulent and tasty. They are far beyond compare. “They are Out-of-this-World!!!” The friends, one-by-one, go nuts for them. “Yes they are most than tasty!”
And what to serve with the Sunday Sauce you ask? It should be a short macaroni; rigatoni, ziti, or gnocchi are best.
The rituals of cooking, serving, and eating Sunday Sauce is a time honored one. It is a beautiful thing. If you mention the term Sunday Sauce to any number of millions of Italian-Americans, the wheels start turning in their heads. Thoughts of how tasty it is, all the different components; the meatballs, sausages, braciola, (maybe ribs, beef or pork neck), the pasta, and the gravy itself.
They think about sitting at the table with friends and or family, people they love. They think about the antipasti that will start the meal and about some good Italian Wine, maybe a nice Chianti. They think about the warmth in the air, loved ones, Dino, Sinatra, and of course, the
Sunday Sauce itself. “It’s a beautiful thing!!!” If you’ve never done it, “Try it!” If you haven’t cooked one for some time, plan a get-together soon. “Sunday Sauce, it brings people together,” in a most delightful way.
“SUNDAY SAUCE” is excerpted from Daniel Bellino Zwicke’s
upcoming book “La Tavola”