Regional Italian American Specialties
Chicago’s baked chicken Vesuvio, redolent with white wine and garlic, was likely minted at a bygone Taylor Street eatery in the 1940s. See the recipe for Chicken Vesuvio » Todd Coleman Clams casino, bivalves topped with parmesan, bread crumbs, and bacon, was invented at Narragansett Pier Casino in Rhode Island in 1894, and soon became a local specialty. Todd Coleman It’s believed that St. Louis’s toasted ravioli came to be in 1943 when the chef at Oldani’s restaurant salvaged some mistakenly fried ravioli with a dusting of Parmesan and bread crumbs. Johnny Marzetti, a macaroni casserole invented in the 1920s by Marzetti’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, is served for school lunch across the state. See the recipe for Johnny Marzetti » Todd Coleman
Utica greens, named for the New York town where Italian factory workers settled in the 1900s, is a sauté of escarole, bread crumbs, potatoes, and hot peppers.
In West Virginia, the doughy pepperoni roll was invented by a Calabrian baker in the early 20th century as a hearty lunch for Italian miners to take with them to work. Todd Coleman We have Italians from Philly to thank for the city’s roast pork sandwich, with garlicky spinach or broccoli rabe, succulent pork, roasted peppers, and provolone cheese. Todd Coleman Focaccia, a Genoese flatbread topped with everything from scallions to tomato sauce, became a specialty of Liguria Bakery in San Francico’s North Beach neighborhood. Barbara Ries