Ask the Chef: What is Sugo Sauce?

We recently reviewed an Italian restaurant with sugo on the menu, accompanying many of the pasta dishes. What is sugo? Very simply, it's sauce.

Ask the Chef: What is Sugo Sauce?

Food & Drink

Ask the Chef: What is Sugo Sauce?

We asked ourselves the following question after one of our reviewers ate at Cascone’s in Kansas City.

Question:

Cascone’s, an Italian restaurant that has been in business since 1954, refers to its classic red sauce as “Sugo.” For example, it’s Pasta Bowl says you can “Choose from Spaghetti, Mostaccioli, Rigatoni or Shell Pasta. Served with Sugo.”

The Angel Hair Pomodoro is described as, “Our Sugo blended with Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Butter, Garlic and fresh Basil.”

As long as we’ve been working in food, we had to ask—what is Sugo?

Answer:

Our server had a one-word answer: “Sauce.” We did a little more research at the office and realized the whole idea is to keep it simple. Sugo is a basic red sauce, usually made with a little garlic and onion roasted in olive oil, plum tomatoes with their juices, Italian seasonings, a little sugar, and if desired, a splash of red wine.

Don’t confuse it with Sugo Rosa, which adds cream and vodka!

Of course, Italian terms are also regional and it appears some refer to Sugo as a meat sauce, while others would call that a Bolognese. So, if you see Sugo on the menu, feel free to ask for the regional definition—but all you really need to know is one word: Sauce!

For more of our Ask the Chef series, just click and enjoy. 

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