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The Messy (and Delicious) History of Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce Recipes

The difference between what you think you know about the history of spaghetti sauce and the truth may surprise you. The spaghetti dish we’re used to couldn’t have existed in ancient Rome because tomatoes are native to South America and made their way to European markets in the 1500’s. Even so, it wasn’t until the 1600’s, when Naples fell under Spanish rule that the first evidence of a tomato sauce appeared in a cook book. It was most likely a marinara, Italy’s oldest known tomato sauce that originates from the Naples area. What’s more, it is believed that Italian peasants never consumed spaghetti with meatballs until Italy’s great migration between 1870 and 1970 when 26 million Italians migrated for better living conditions and to secure work.

While they’re not spaghetti sauces, we’d be remiss if we didn’t add this interesting side note: Alfredo and pasta primavera were introduced in 1914 and 1977 respectively. Pasta primavera was created in New York by a restauranteur that was improvising because he was out of other ingredients!

Ok, let’s get saucy. Whether it’s a cream, red, white, clear, or meat sauce, you’re bound to have an opinion about what makes a great sauce. For our purposes, we’re narrowing the list to include only the red sauces (I know they’re all delicious, calm down). Here’s a list of the traditional reds.

Arrabbiata – Italian for “angry”, this sauce is true to its name. It’s a zesty tomato-based red sauce that contains chilies, spicy pancetta and garlic.

Bologne – A red ragu (meat sauce) containing finely chopped pieces of meat, carrots, celery, onions, and a little wine. It is often made with cream giving it a lighter red color and delicious, mild and savory flavor. The origins of this sauce can be traced back to the Northern Italian city of Bologna.

Marinara – What is known as the classic Italian tomato sauce is a red sauce that is highly seasoned with onions, garlic and oregano. The sauce dates back to roughly 1692. The word marinara comes from an Italian word meaning “of the sea”. Traditional Italian marinara sauce is known for often containing seafood.

Neapolitan – A red ragu (meat sauce) sauce containing plenty of tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs and spices. This sauce originates from the city of Naples where they prepare the sauce with whole pieces of meat cooked in it. The meat is removed when the sauce is done and served separately as the main course.

Puttanesca – One of the most interesting names for a sauce, the word can mean “whore’s spaghetti” or “garbage.” The origin of this sauce in unclear but some legends claim it was prepared for prostitutes while they waited for their next appointment. They would ask the cook to make “any kind of garbage” which might explain the excessive amount of ingredients used to prepare this sauce compared to other traditional sauces. Puttanesca is a red sauce that includes tomatoes, onions, anchovies, capers, black olives, garlic and oregano, simmered in olive oil.

While sauces vary from one country to the next, spaghetti is enjoyed around the world. While knowing the history of the famed sauce makes for interesting conversation while the sauce is cooking, we suggest you stop talking and enjoy every savory bite when the meal is served. Buon appetito!

Top 5 Italian Restaurant Chains in America

Spaghetti Restaurant

Just like bars and Chinese take-out locations, Italian Restaurant chains are part of the major lifeblood of American culture in even the smallest of towns. Many of these Italian restaurants have started from nothing but good ideas for nice food, and have exploded to create a restaurant chain that spans across many different states.

Like many people, you might find yourself looking around for a nice new place to try out that delivers hot meals that taste amazing; rather than trying them out all one-by-one, here is a list of the top 5 Italian restaurant chains in America;

Fazoli’s
Found in more than 25 States, Fazoli’s is one of the most popular brands of Italian restaurant that provided everything from pepperoni bread to shrimp & artichokes. This is a really balanced restaurant in terms of pricing, atmosphere and quality; you get a fine blend of each. Once you visit one Fazoli’s, you’ll be able to see why they are found so regularly across the United States.

Biaggi’s
Another popular brand of Italian restaurant, this takes on the old-school white table clothed, happy environment that many might be expecting via the popular stereotypes. This first opened up in 1999, and now covers 12 different States across the country. They serve things like sherry tomato soup, butternut squash ravioli and many other Italian treats you might never have tried in the past – they are well worth checking out.

Zio’s
Zio is used across the US, and serves states such as Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, N. Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas to fine effect. It’s got an open kitchen that lets you see the cooking go on in front of you, as well as a real pizzeria style atmosphere’s the food is delicious and varied, the prices are fair, and the people that serve you are lovely – overall, Zio’s is growing quickly across the US and it won’t be long before even more parts of the US are enjoying their cuisine.

Olive Garden
Naturally, this is one of the most commonly recognized Italian restaurants – and with good reason. With more than 800 US locations, this is arguably the biggest of them all. They do Italian cuisine justice with stunning dishes that are absolutely loaded with variety and flavor. Add in the Tour of Italy selection that lets you try key Italian dishes like lasagna, fettuccine and others, and you’ve got one of the most comprehensive eating experiences that you are likely to find for Italian food in the US.
Little Italy

Maggiano’s
Maggiano’s is another hugely popular Italian name that serves across 22 States, and has done for more than 23 years. Thei quality of service is unparalleled and the quality of the food is much the same; they are a fantastically useful restaurant to have nearby if you ever want quality Italian grub without having to pay through the nose. For private events, though, you can hire private spaces to make sure you get the space and time that you require.

 

The Health Benefits Of Eating Spaghetti

Health Benefits of Spaghetti Sauce

The healthy benefits of eating a good spaghetti dinner are seldom discussed these days, as talk around health and nutrition currently revolve around the ‘low carb’ and ‘gluten free,’ and how ignoring these things can lead to weight gain and poor nutrition. However, without even having to dissect the whys and wherefores of these trendy inclinations, we can immediately resolve that eating too much of pretty much anything can lead to issues with weight, metabolic disorders and even diabetes. Pasta often bears the brunt of this attack, but the time has come to consider turning back to this tried and true comfort of culinary tradition that has been fed upon since time immemorial! Moderation, as always, is the key to reaping the maximum benefits, but there is really no good argument for eliminating this staple food out of your diet completely, unless of course you are gluten intolerant, or are trying to lose weight.

Marathon runners, cyclists, triathletes, athletes of all kinds in fact, have long known the benefits of enjoying a hearty spaghetti dinner the night before a race or event. The carbohydrates in pasta act as a time-released source of energy, slowly unwinding in your system to provide the kind of staying power that will go the distance. Pasta carbs break down to glucose in your system: glucose is the fuel that your body runs upon, a necessary ingredient that powers your movement, your brain, and with the proper balance will even help you to get a good night’s sleep.

Fiber is also a fabulous benefit to eating spaghetti, as traditional pasta contains plenty of it. Fiber is the ‘other’ type of carbohydrate, distinguished by the fact that it cannot be broken down into glucose. It passes through your system undigested, which may sound a bit odd, but that unique quality contributes to the feeling of being ‘full’ which may lead to one actually eating less, as well as having the added benefit of keeping your colon toned and healthy. Whole wheat spaghetti packs an even bigger punch of fiber, with a typical serving providing up to thirty percent of your daily fiber requirement; the flavor is virtually identical, so making the switch to whole wheat pasta is an easy way to deliver maximum nutrition while not compromising on taste. Pasta has the added benefit of being cholesterol-free, as well as being very low in sodium – an imperative for heart health. Hold back on adding salt to the water you’re cooking the pasta in, and you’ll lower that value even further.

Adding extra vegetables to your favorite spaghetti sauce will boost that fiber even further, providing plenty of ways to supplement the nutritional value of your meal while still enjoying what you love most. The traditional tomato based sauces are the norm in spaghetti, but you can pump up the fiber and the nutritional value as well as the flavor by adding eight ounces or more of spinach to your standard sauce recipe. It effectively amps up the nutrients, providing a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, including iron, fiber, niacin, zinc, vitamin B and C and too many others to list. Don’t like spinach? You could choose any other vegetable you are enthusiastic about, like celery, carrots, or peas. Alternately, just try adding more of the staples: mushrooms, green and red peppers, onions and don’t forget the garlic! Garlic is a powerful antioxidant that not only helps to lower your blood pressure, but also is proven to cut your risk of contracting a cold or the flu by more than sixty percent.

Be it resolved, then, that eating a traditional spaghetti meal can actually be beneficial to ones health on several levels, and that there should be no cause for concern – barring any serious health issues which might prevent one from indulging in the first place. So, if you feel that this comfort-inducing favorite is getting a bad rap from your friends and family, just whip out some of these fun spaghetti facts, and wow them with a good dose of healthy wisdom.