Most of the immigrants went to the cities. New York, Buffalo, Rochester and other cities in the State of New York received large contingents. It must be remembered that immigrants almost always came to join others who had preceded them – a husband, or a father, or an uncle or a friend. In western New York most of the first immigrants from Sicily went to Buffalo, so that from 1900 on, the thousands who followed them to this part of the state also landed in Buffalo. There they joined their friends and relatives who in many cases had purchased the tickets for their steerage passage to America. After they arrived, guided and assisted by relatives, they ventured out of the city of Buffalo, joined work gangs all over western New York to pick peas, beans and other crops and to work in the numerous canneries located in the small towns and villages. In their westward migration they first went to work on the farms in Brant, Angola and Farnham and also in the canneries at Farnham, Silver Creek, Irving and other places. Some of the men found work on the railroad. They moved from place to place and lived in freight cars. In this manner some of them reached as far as Westfield and settled there. The canneries there and the rich farm lands provided work for the whole family.
Source: CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY WESTFIELD, NY: August 1960.
Buffalo, New York
Canal Street was the name of a thoroughfare as well as a district in Buffalo in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Originally called Rock Street, Canal Street ran parallel to and just to the west of the famed Erie Canal at its terminus in Buffalo. The area had been the site of the original Village of Buffalo, near a Seneca Indian village on Buffalo Creek. The city eventually expanded outward from the waterfront location.
The Canal, completed in 1825, opened up the western United States to travelers and trade from the east coast. With it came a tremendous increase in Great Lakes freighter traffic at Buffalo Harbor and, with that, an influx of canal and freighter crewmen, who were often paid when they reached Buffalo and spent their pay freely in the bars and brothels that sprang up in the district, that was known at different times as “Canal Street”, “Five Points”, “the Flats” and “the Hooks”.
In the early 20th century, the district became the home of the Italian immigrants, mostly Sicilian. Canal Street’s name was changed to Dante Place and the neighborhood became known as “Little Italy.” Most of the bars and brothels gave way to three-and four-story brick tenements, each housing multiple families.
Alter the first wave of immigrants came, a larger wave from Abruzzi province in central Italy, from Calabria in the boot and more Sicilians from the Mediterranean island, arrived on the waterfront. The Italians extended their area up to Niagara Street and Front Park and down to Eagle and Chicago Street. Their traditional neighborhood had been the West Side, but they moved out past the city limits as early as 1900 and today are still scattered throughout the area.
No fewer than five distincts emerged in Buffalo:
Newcomers from Sicily settled in a neighborhood called, The Hooks, close to Canal Street on the crowded Lower West Side.
Calabrians regrouped in South Buffalo.
The Campanese, who came from Naples, lived closer to downtown.
The Abruzzi, lived on East Delavan and immigrants from central southern Italy, the Campobassese, settled in the Lovejoy-William area.
Syracuse, New York
Little Italy in Syracuse, New York, is an area on the north side of the city where the early Italian immigrants settled. The neighborhood has been called Little Italy for years, but it was not until 2003 that the city officially designated it as such. The area is populated with Italian restaurants, some along North Salina Street, Little Italy’s main street.
Italian immigrants first came to the area around Syracuse, New York in 1883 after providing labor for the construction of the West Shore Railroad. At first, they were quite transient and came and went, but eventually settled down on the Northside. By 1899, the Italian immigrants were living on the Northside of the city in the area centered around Pearl Street. The Italians all but supplanted the Germans in that area of the city and had their own business district along North State and North Salina Streets.
Early residents in the neighborhood worked for Learbury Suits, Nettleton Shoes and other Northside factories. The Columbus Baking Company has been a mainstay on Pearl Street for over a century. The bakery is family-owned and specializes in four types of bread. Thano’s Import Market, located on North Salina Street for over 90 years, sells Italian delicacies, such as aged provolone cheese, olives and homemade pasta.
By 1900, farmers gathered at the Northside Produce Market and supplied fresh fruit and vegetables to local residents. Lombardi’s Fruits & Imports,created during this time, is another fixture on the Northside and carries hundreds of items imported directly from Italy.
Bronx, New York
Arthur Avenue – what some call the “real Little Italy” is in the Bronx. Located in the Belmont section of the Bronx, Arthur Avenue was named after President Chester A. Arthur in the 19th century. Italians temporarily settled here to help build the Bronx Zoo, but with the creation of the Third Avenue elevated train, which ran between the Bronx and downtown Manhattan, their presence in the neighborhood remained and grew, with the population reached close to 100,000 Italian residents by the early 1900s.
The Bronx Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the world. In 1898, the City of New York allotted 250 acres of Bronx Park to the New York Zoological Society to build a park aimed at preserving native animals and promoting zoology. The Bronx Zoo opened in 1899 and remains one of the largest wildlife conservation parks in the United States, housing 4,000 animals representing more than 650 species. The Rockefeller Fountain, was built by Italian sculptor Biagio Catella in 1872, donated to the Zoological Society by William Rockefeller in 1903, and moved to its present spot in the zoo in 1910.
In the 1890s, Italian immigrants moved from lower Manhattan to the tenement buildings of the Bronx. They set up shops selling produce, pasta, cheese, salumi, bread, pastries and other products. Many of those establishments are still doing business today. The atmosphere of Italy is preserved on merchant lined Arthur Avenue and in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, established by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1940.
The Arthur Avenue Retail Market brings all the elements of the neighborhood together under one roof. For a meal to remember, head to Dominicks’s. This classic restaurant is loud, has no menu, no dessert and is consistently named the neighborhood’s favorite “red-sauce joint”. Not to worry dessert lovers, the neighborhood has an abundance of sweet treats at shops like Egidio Pastry, where desserts have been served since 1912.
Some Italian American Regional Favorites:
Serves 4 to 6
- 14 large white mushrooms. each about 2 inches wide
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 ounces Italian fennel sausage,casing removed
- 1 cup finely chopped green peppers
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons grated romano cheese
- 3 large sweet vinegared cherry peppers, chopped
Wipe the mushrooms clean and remove the stems. Set aside the 10 best and largest mushroom caps. Finely chop the remaining 4 mushroom caps and all the stems. Transfer them to a small bowl and set them aside.
In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sausage and cook it for 4 to 5 minutes or until it is nicely browned. As it cooks, break the sausage apart with a wooden spoon.
Add the green peppers, garlic and chopped mushroom, increase the heat to high and cook the mixture, stirring, for about 8 to 10 minutes or until it is browned and tender and the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.
Add the bread crumbs and chicken stock. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the cheese. Add the pickled peppers and remove the mixture from the heat.
Spread the mixture on a platter, allow it to cool slightly, and then transfer it to the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes or until it has cooled completely.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Stuff each of the reserved mushroom caps with 1 to 1½ tablespoons of the sausage mixture. Set the stuffed mushrooms in a casserole and drizzle them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake them for 15 to 20 minutes or until the mushroom caps are tender. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate, spoon any remaining pan juices over them, and serve.
- 1 lb. ground lean beef
- 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, plus 1 clove, finely chopped
- 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced, plus 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 small bunch parsley , minced
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 large heads escarole, cored and cut into 2″ pieces
- 8 cups chicken stock
- Cooked white rice, for serving
Mix beef, bread crumbs, parmesan and pecorino cheese,, seasoning, finely chopped garlic and onion, parsley , egg, salt and pepper in a bowl. Form into 30, 1 ½″ meatballs; chill.
Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic and onions; cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add escarole; cook until wilted, about 6 minutes. Add stock; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Add meatballs; cook until meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice; top with more parmesan cheese and black pepper.
Fillet of Sole Oreganata
There are different kinds of sole, Dover sole, considered the best, is caught in the English channel and surrounding waters, imported, and sold in fish markets in America. It is expensive. The best domestic sole is called gray-sole, which is fairly abundant in the North Atlantic. Also distinctive in flavor is Lemon Sole. Flounder is also an option.
- 4-fillets of sole or flounder (6 oz each)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup of Chardonnay (or another dry white wine)
- 1/2-cup of fish stock
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4-cup of fine breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon of freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped Italian parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix oreganata ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
In a 350-degree oven, bake fillets in a pan topped with lemon juice, wine, fish stock and salt and pepper for 10 minutes.
Place oreganata mixture over fillets and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown. Arrange fillets on a plate and serve with lemon wedges.
This no-bake recipe comes from an Italian recipe written in 1891. Store-bought savoiardi ladyfinger cookies are dipped in liqueur, layered with chocolate and then refrigerated until firm.
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 large egg yolk or 2 tablespoons egg substitute, such as Egg Beaters
- 3½ ounces dark chocolate, at least 70% cacao
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons sweet liqueur, such as Alchermes*
- 12 savoiardi (crisp ladyfingers)
- 2 tablespoons crushed pistachios or hazelnuts
In a large bowl, using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar and egg yolk until very smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Put the chocolate and cream in a small bowl and melt chocolate, either in a microwave or over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Let chocolate mixture cool to room temperature, then stir it and the vanilla into the butter mixture. Set aside.
Combine 5 tablespoons warm water with the granulated sugar in a shallow bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the liqueur. Dip 4 of the savoiardi, one at a time, into the liquid. Be sure to moisten them well on all sides. Arrange the 4 liqueur-dipped savoiardi in a row, close together, on a serving plate. Spread with one third of the chocolate mixture. Repeat the dipping and layering to make 2 more layers, spreading the last layer of chocolate mixture on top and around the sides of the stacked savoiardi. Sprinkle top layer with pistachio or hazelnuts. Refrigerate for 3 hours, or until firm. Serve cold.
*Alchermes is a Mediterranean red colored liqueur made from brandy flavored with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and other spices. Use a cranberry liqueur as a substitute. Cranberry flavored liqueur popular brands: Godfreys or Boggs.
- Little Italy Residents Fight To Save Historic District (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Little Italy – Manhattan (jovinacooksitalian.com)
Chicago Italian Beef Sandwiches
Created on the South Side of Chicago in the Italian neighborhoods around the now defunct Stockyards, the classic Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich is a unique, drippy, messy variation on the French Dip Sandwich. It is available in hundreds of places around the city but rarely found outside of Chicago. The exact origin is unknown, but the sandwich was probably created by Italian immigrants in the early 1900s as they rose from poverty and were able to afford beef for roasting.
No one knows for sure who invented the sandwich, but the recipe was popularized by Pasquale Scala, a South Side butcher and sausage maker. During the Depression food was scarce and Scala’s thinly sliced roast beef on a bun with gravy and fried peppers took off. Today, beef sandwiches are a staple at Italian weddings, funerals, parties, political fundraisers and luncheons and Scala’s Original still supplies hundreds of restaurants and Italian Beef Stands with the raw ingredients.
Italian Beef is made by slowly roasting lean beef in a pan filled with seasoned beef-based stock. Some folks call it gravy, but in most Chicago Italian households gravy is a term reserved for tomato sauces. Others call it au jus or “juice” for short. Then it is sliced paper-thin, soaked in the juice for a few minutes and layered generously, dripping wet, onto sections of Italian bread loaves, sliced lengthwise. According to Allen Kelson, former restaurant critic for Chicago Magazine and now a restaurant consultant, it is important that the bread has “wet strength”. The meat is topped with sautéed green bell pepper slices, Pepperoncini and Giardiniera, which is usually a spicy hot blend of chopped Serrano peppers, carrots, cauliflower florets, celery, olives, herbs, salt & pepper, packed in oil and vinegar. Finally juice is spooned over the toppings, making the bread wet and chewy.
- 1 boneless beef chuck roast (about 3 1/2 pounds)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 3 cups beef broth
- Sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
- 1 medium green pepper, julienned
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 16 ounces sliced or whole pepperoncinis
- 2 (1-pound) loaves hearty Italian bread, cut into halves lengthwise
For the Pot Roast:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and position a rack in the middle position of the oven. Liberally sprinkle the entire roast with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Brown the roast on all sides until golden and caramelized; reduce the heat if the fat begins to smoke.
Transfer the roast to a plate and reduce the heat to medium. Add in onions and saute, stirring occasionally until just beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper and saute until fragrant. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze with the red wine and cook until the alcohol smell is diminished. Add in the stock and thyme and bring to a simmer. Place the roast back into the pot with any accumulated juices, cover and place in the oven.
Cook the roast, turning every 30 minutes, until very tender, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and tent with foil. Strain the juices in the pan through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Once cooled a bit, pull the meat into smaller chunks, add to bowl with pan juices and reserve for the sandwiches.
For the Peppers:
Increase the oven heat to 350 degrees F. Toss the pepper strips with the oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Bake, stirring halfway through, until lighter in color and soft, about 20 minutes.
To assemble the sandwich: Spoon some juice directly onto the bread. Get it very wet. Then layer the beef generously and spoon on more juice. Top it with bell pepper, Giardiniera and Pepperoncini.
Italian Subs – New York Restaurant Style
“This is a classic Italian sub sandwich with three kinds of meat and provolone cheese. The kind you get in a mom and pop pizza restaurant.
|1 head leaf lettuce, rinsed and torn
2 medium fresh tomatoes, sliced very thin
1 medium red onion, sliced very thin
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
|1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pinch dried oregano
1/2 pound sliced hot Capacola
1/2 pound thinly sliced Genoa Salami
1/4 pound thinly sliced Prosciutto
1/2 pound sliced Provolone Cheese
4 submarine rolls, split
1 cup Pepperoncini, sliced to fit sandwich
|1.||In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, tomatoes and onion. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, wine vinegar, parsley, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes and oregano. Pour over the salad, and toss to coat evenly. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.|
|2.||Spread the submarine rolls open, and layer the Capacola, Salami, Prosciutto, and Provolone Cheese evenly on each roll. Top with some of the salad, and as many Pepperoncini pepper slices as desired. Close the rolls and serve.|
Pepper and Egg Sandwich
Since the 1950′s, and possibly earlier, the “pepper ‘n egg” sandwich has been a popular lunch for Italian American families. When I was a child, my mother would pack a pepper and egg sandwich for my school lunch box. I can remember some of my school mates, saying, “EWW – what is that….” I just shrugged because it tasted yummy. As an adult, I make pepper and egg sandwiches regularly. I introduced them to my Irish husband long ago and it is still one of his favorite sandwiches.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 loaf Italian bread or rolls
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat then add olive oil. Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper and sauté for a minute or two. Add the onion and peppers, regulating the heat so the onions don’t burn. Sauté until the peppers have softened.
Raise the heat to medium-high and add the beaten eggs. Stir to combine with the onions and peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggs are set.
Slice the bread lengthwise without cutting all the way through. When the eggs are done, gently slide them onto the bread to make a sandwich and cut the loaf into four portions.
Open-Face Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches
- Four large 1/2-inch-thick slices of Italian peasant bread
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- One 1 1/4-pound eggplant, sliced crosswise into 8 slices 1 inch thick
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 8 large basil leaves, torn
- Coarse sea salt
- Light a grill. Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil and grill over high heat until crisp on the outside but still soft inside, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a platter.
- Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn and grill until tender, about 3 minutes longer.
- Top the eggplant with the tomato, mozzarella and basil. Cover the grill and cook until the cheese just begins to melt, 1-2 minutes. Transfer 2 eggplant slices onto each slice of bread, sprinkle with sea salt and serve.
New Orleans Muffuletta Sandwich
- 1 round loaf Italian bread, 10-inches in diameter
- Olive Salad (see recipe below)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces salami, thinly sliced
- 2 ounces Italian ham (Proscuitto), thinly sliced
- 2 ounces Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
Cut bread in half crosswise and scoop out about half of the soft dough from top and bottom pieces (this is to provide more room for the sandwich ingredients). Brush the inside bottom of loaf with olive oil or juice from the Olive Salad marinade.
Layer salami, Italian ham and Provolone cheese on the bottom piece.
Top with as much Olive Salad as will fit without spilling out. Add top of loaf and press down slightly. Slice in quarters or sixths and serve at room temperature.
Makes 4-6 servings, depending on the appetite.
- 2/3 cup pitted and coarsely chopped green olives
- 2/3 cup pitted and coarsely chopped Kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup chopped pimiento
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 anchovy fillet, mashed
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup finely-chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely-chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and then allow the flavors to mingle for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Italian Meatball Sub
Dominic Conti (1874-1954) claims he was the first to use the name, submarine sandwich. Angela Zuccaro, granddaughter of Dominic, related the following information:
“My grandfather came to this country in 1895 from Montella, Italy. Around 1910, he started his grocery store, called Dominic Conti’s Grocery Store, on Mill Street in Paterson, New Jersey where he was selling the traditional Italian sandwiches. His sandwiches were made from a recipe he brought with him from Italy which consisted of a long crusty roll, filled with cold cuts, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, oil, vinegar, Italian spices, salt, and pepper. The sandwich started with a layer of cheese and ended with a layer was cheese (this was so the bread wouldn’t get soggy).”
Angela continued,”My mother often told me about how my grandfather came to name his sandwich the Submarine.” She remembered the incident very well, as she was 16 years old at the time. She related that “when grandfather went to see the Holland I in 1927, the raised submarine hull that was put on display in Westside Park, he said, ‘It looks like the sandwich I sell at my store.’ From that day on, he called his sandwich the ‘submarine.’ People came from miles around to buy one of my Grandfather’s subs.”
- 2 hoagie rolls, toasted lightly and split lengthwise, but not all the way through
- 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Provolone cheese
- 6 cooked meatballs, heated, see recipe post; https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2012/04/20/how-to-prepare-meatballs-and-sausage-3/
- 1 cup homemade Marinara sauce, heated through ( or bottled Italian pasta sauce) see recipe post: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2012/04/19/hello-world/
- 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly toast rolls.
- Sprinkle both cheeses in the bottom of the rolls, holding back about 2 tablespoons for the top of the rolls.
- Place the meatballs down the centre of the roll and ladle hot Marinara sauce on top.
- Sprinkle a tablespoonful of reserved shredded cheese and the Parmesan cheese over top. Sprinkle some dried oregano and basil the over top.
- Put meatball sub in an oven-safe dish and return to oven for a couple of minutes to heat through and melt the cheeses. Cool for a minute before digging in and you may need a large napkin.
When you pick up an Applegate Farms product, you can be assured that…
- Our animals are never given antibiotics. Healthy animals don’t need medicine. Instead, we give them space, fresh air, and a healthy diet, which we’re certain beats the alternative.
- Our livestock eat a completely vegetarian diet with no animal by-products. Cattle in our organic program are grass-fed. Hogs and poultry in our organic program are fed a grain diet that includes corn, soy, barley, and flax that are free from GMOs.
- Our animals are never given hormones or artificial growth promotants. They grow at their natural rate.
- All of our products are made with natural and organic ingredients. If you aren’t familiar with a particular ingredient, email us and we’ll tell you what it is.
- Our products are all minimally processed, allowing for a wholesome texture and taste.
- Our products never contain artificial nitrates or nitrites. Instead, we use celery juice and sea salt to preserve our products the natural and old fashioned way.
- Our deli meat, hot dogs, burgers, and bacon are gluten and casein free.
- Our products are made from natural and organic whole muscle meat. Yes, even our hot dogs! No mystery here.
- Frankie’s Sammiches Opens First Location in Milwaukee: From Street Food to Storefront (prweb.com)
- Ruminations on a sandwich (trustforce.wordpress.com)
- Ruminations on a sandwich (trustforce.wordpress.com)
- Chicken Salad Sandwich (cabinetcooking.wordpress.com)
- Best Native Food Finds in Chicago (apartmentguide.com)