Chefs and diners are fascinated by old-school red sauce Italian cuisine these days—just look at the newly opened Carbone and the whole Torrisi empire. Italian-American classics, from lasagna to Lobster Fra Diavolo, were once seen as the unrefined food of immigrants, but now those same plates are considered hot dishes to resurrect and refine.
There is no better place to unearth the history and nuances of saucy Italian-American fare than mob flicks and other movies that embrace the power of a good spaghetti-and-meatballs feast. In Goodfellas, Scorcese humanizes the otherwise monstrous characters in the film through meaty, saucy breadcrumby, cheesy Italian food. What’s more, a few of these movies hash out the recipe for classic dishes, including an excellent sounding Sunday gravy recipe from Capo Peter Clemenza in The Godfather.
Grab a plate of veal Milanese and check out our top picks for red-sauce scenes in movie history.