Q: Renato, as an
accomplished Italian chef... and I will attest to that!...I would
like to hear your thoughts on Valentino's spaghetti recipe as it is
posted online @ https://bit.ly/3cCpXiQ
A: I did not know about this
recipe until recently and when I saw it I was surprised. Because the
ingredients have almost nothing to do with the Italian cuisine. So
let's look at the recipe.
Q: I know Italian sauces
consist of very few ingredients to create a specific taste. Italians
do not like to mix many flavors together and are very traditional. The
great vocabulary of Italian sauces can not be messed with believe
me. You mentioned to me you found some un-Italian things in this sauce
A: Well first, the
“mushrooms sliced”. We have a culture of mushrooms and we use
different kinds of mushrooms and would say what kind to use. This is
probably the mushrooms you find most in America which are the
Another thing is the
“Italian sausage”...which in Italy means nothing because every
province and city has its own sausage and its own cheese and its own
The Italian sausage in
America looks like a kind of Sicilian sausage with fennel inside
Q: So there seems to be some
A: Yes... oregano and
rosemary. They are very strong flavors and together they mean a mess
The final touch here for
me is anchovies... This creates a mix that I think no Italian would
Also what kind of
tomatoes? Italians use different tomatoes for different dishes, such
as paste, chopped, fresh.. usually in Italy to make a sauce we use
peeled whole tomatoes.
And rosemary is used
mostly for meat. Maybe some foccacia breads or potatoes but never in
a tomato sauce.
One more thing I can add
is to comment on the picture of Valentino cooking the long spaghetti.
If he did this he knew nothing about the Italian kitchen...because it
had to be a joke. The reason for spaghetti to be that long then was
that the technology to produce pasta was not able to make the short
pasta so it was sold longer... But it was always broken into pan
The recipe of my Grandma
Elena's “Sauce of the Fisherman” or the “Marinara” is as
Ingredients: oil, garlic,
whole peeled tomatoes, parsley and salt
In a small saucepan you
put several tablespoons of olive oil
Then peel two cloves of
garlic and press them flat and put in the cold oil.
Heat this oil until the
garlic is browned
Then while holding in one
hand the cover of the saucepan...! and in the other a can of peeled
Pour the entire can of
tomatoes into the boiling garlic and oil and slam that lid down
instantly or it can be an explosion
after one minute reduce
the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or so.
Then crush the tomatoes
and you can leave the garlic or take it out.
Right before serving...
add in some raw, well chopped Italian parsley..
And salt to taste.
A Note From Renato on Rudolph
Valentino's Spaghetti Sauce:
Perhaps the secret recipe for Rodolfo
Valentino's spaghetti was such a secret that even he did not know it
but, apart from making easy jokes, as I know a little about Italian
and Italo-American cuisine, I will try to understand how it was
created. Italo-American cuisine began to exist when the first Italian
emigrants landed in the United States. Generally they were mainly
from southern Italy, and leaving widespread poverty there, they were
used to being frugal with food. Because of the scarcity of some
products, they learned to make the best use of what they had.
After an emigrant's first difficult
moments, it became a sort of status symbol to serve rich and opulent
dishes. It was then the traditional small Italian meatballs became
the jumbo meatballs for spaghetti; a dish that never existed and
still does not in Italy but was born in a Brooklyn kitchen.
The first thing to consider is where
Valentino came from.. in the region of Puglia. This is a region with
strong culinary traditions and for many, many years it was considered
"the Grainery of Italy" because
wheat was grown there with which to make flour for bread, pasta,
desserts and so on.
From north to far
south in Italy, we have very different cultures starting from the
dishes of Austrian and French origin in the north to southern foods
such as the Sicilian cous cous. Even the types of pasta differ
according to the region and often the city. In Piedmont, the tajarin
pasta is typical. This is very thin soft noodles of fresh pasta
seasoned with succulent roast sauces. Further south we have in
Naples, the "maccaroni" aka “spaghetti” with the name
spaghetti due to the shape of the pasta being similar to the string
or tie, called “spago”.
In Puglia, in addition to wonderful
baked pasta, the typical format of the pasta is that of the
Orecchiette which have nothing to do with the monstrous six feet long
spaghetti Rodolfo Valentino was photographed with for fun.
In my opinion Valentino's recipe, is
absurd for the Italian taste. It is an Italian-American deformation
of the Pasta alla Carrettiera, as this is the closest to the one we
are talking about here. Here is a brief recipe for the Carrettiera
pasta, typical of Roman cuisine which I offer as a more authentic
spaghetti or guitar spaghetti.
400g. Peeled whole
100g. Canned Tuna
4 spoons of Extra
Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove of garlic
salt to taste and
I believe this could have been the
original recipe, with subsequent questionable additions, which became
known today as Rudolph Valentino's recipe. It should be added that
although I am knowledgeable in the cuisine of Puglia, I asked a chef
from Taranto there, what he thought of the Valentinian recipe and he
said laughing, “Now I understand why Valentino died so young, if he
ate this crap.”
And that's it!
Renato making his Christmas Agnolotti