Bon Appétit has a rich list of articles and photos paying homage to red sauce restaurants in America. You likely know this type of joint. It has:
The oversize portions. The red-and-white-checked tablecloths. A carafe of the house red. Old-school Italian-American restaurants, a.k.a. red sauce joints, are the kind of institutions you’ll find, with very few deviations, in just about any city in America. But as we discovered upon reaching out to dozens of writers, chefs, and celebrities, these restaurants are about a lot more than a plate of penne alla vodka. Whether or not you’re Italian, red sauce likely means something to you—about family, or home, or history, or politics, or class, or citizenship, or selfhood, or otherness, or all the above, or a million other things. And that’s what this package is all about. Welcome to Red Sauce America.
For a feast of this type of dining, see here: Welcome to Red Sauce America – Bon Appétit.
.. this: Minestrone Soup Recipe – Bon Appétit Recipe | Bon Appetit.
Purests would argue it isn’t minestrone at all. Let’s say it is in the style of a good minestrone, and it opens you up to make it with whatever you have and whatever you feel like.
This recipe calls for Sambal Oelek. If you don’t have it, but you have sriracha or chili-garlic sauce, then you are in business. (For a good run down on how each of those three sauces differ, see this.)
Risotto had (has still?) a reputation of being difficult. You do have to attend to it, but otherwise it is quite easy. If anything, I find tending to a risotto relaxing, slowly adding to it, stirring it, tasting it. I highly recommend it.
If you haven’t made it, or you want some new ideas, here some recipes to get started. I really liked this Caprese risotto recipe.
A small tip: when adding the garlic, I also added some diced red onion and sliced cooked sausage. I also used spicy vegetable sauce instead of tomato juice, and around 1 tbsp of dried basil as I was adding the liquid.
Here’s a number of other risotto recipes I came across that look appealing: Classic parmesan risotto, Seafood saffron risotto with fennel, Porcini-mushroom risotto, Cheat’s orzo risotto with olives and feta, Asparagus and brown-rice risotto
And if you have left over risotto, then you want to consider making this: Crispy mozzarella risotto cakes
Over at HisAndHerWine.com they have two great infographics on how to pair wines with pizza. I picked the one above because it focuses on specific Italian wines, but the other infographic and alot more info can be found here: 16 Best Wines to Drink with Pizza.
The best wine to drink with pizza may be the one open nearest to you, but if you want to be precise and have a better pairing, check out that site.
Onions, butter, tomatoes. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. And yet, delicious. Also beats the stuff in a jar, of course.
Once you have a great tomato sauce, then there is a wealth of possibilities for dinner, from pasta to veal to eggplant to….whatever needs a great tomato sauce.
For more on the recipe (and where I got the photo), see: Stacey Snacks.