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The Sauces Of Rao's Essay

912 words - 4 pages

Sauces are the hands that cradle the dish, serving to compliment the elements and bring harmony to flavor. Historically, sauces were the nutritional accompaniment to starches and also put salt back into food that had leached during the cooking process (Encyclopedia of Food and Culture 2003). Antonin Carême was the first to coin the term, mother sauces, which are the foundation for other sauces called derivatives (Cuisine Foundations 2008, p. 227). Sauces have evolved in design and can be a creative signature on a classic dish. When considering the benefit of sauces you are destined for cravings of Italian cuisine! Rao’s, the beloved East Harlem neighborhood restaurant is famous for its social clout and mastery of marinara.
For over 115 years, Rao’s has been tucked away on the modest corner of 114th street and Pleasant Ave in the upper borough of Manhattan. In 1896, Charles Rao purchased a small saloon from The George Ehret Brewery and opened Rao’s (Rao’s History). Charles passed away in 1909 of a heart attack and his brother Joseph Rao took over the restaurant until his death in 1930. Charles’ sons, Vincent and Louis Rao then became the operating owners. Vincent eventually brought his wife, Anna Pellegrino on board to rev up the menu. Her refined approach to traditional Southern Italian cooking kept the restaurants highly coveted 10 tables filled with diehard regulars (Rao’s History). Rao’s local following was rewarded with seniority in the form of standing-reservations that still exist today. Anna’s nephew, Frank Pellegrino, an aspiring actor and musician, was often called upon to serve and entertain guests. Today, Rao’s is owned by Frank Pellegrino and Ron Straci, the nephew of Vincent Rao. (Rao’s History). The continued stardom of Rao’s is a tribute to their family roots and stellar, Neapolitan cuisine.
Chef Dino Gatto is the current executive chef at Rao’s, New York. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Chef Gatto’s celebrity status and culinary genius have preserved the “Rao’s phenomenon” for over 14 years. Dino’s Uncle was a devoted patron at Rao’s for 25 years when he recommended Dino as a Sous Chef to the owners Ron Straci and Frank Pellegrino (Chef Dino Gatto). The menu and sauces in particular at Rao’s reflect a minimalist philosophy. The top-shelf cuisine features nostalgic recipes that pay homage to the Grandmothers of Southern Italy. Just like in Nonna’s kitchen, every morning a large pot of tomato sauce bubbles away wafting its sweet aroma (Eat your Heart Out 1998). Rao’s House Wine? It’s from Warren? (2009) reveals their primary tomato sauce is untouched of any additives or fillers, only the purest, freshest ingredients are expertly blended together. The tomato sauce uses only whole, plum tomatoes imported from San Marzano, Italian olive oil, sweet onions, fresh basil, fresh garlic, crushed black pepper, salt and fresh oregano. This all-purpose tomato sauce is incorporated in various pairings and flavor...

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