Exploring Frank Sinatra’s Cherished Italian Cuisine

Famed for his smooth voice and timeless charm, Frank Sinatra also had a notable love affair with Italian cuisine. His passion for these dishes not only reflects his heritage but also offers us a glimpse into the simple, yet profoundly satisfying world of traditional Italian cooking. From Sunday Sauce to Pollo Vesuvio, let’s explore the flavors that resonated with Sinatra.

The Essence of Italian Cooking

Italian cuisine is characterized by its emphasis on fresh, high-quality ingredients and straightforward yet flavorful recipes. Sinatra’s favorites, like Veal Milanese and Pasta Fazool, embody this philosophy. These dishes aren’t just about sustenance; they’re a celebration of cultural heritage and familial bonds.

For instance, Sinatra’s adored Sunday Sauce, a rich and hearty tomato sauce simmered with various meats, is a staple in Italian-American households. It’s not just a dish; it’s an event, bringing families together around the dining table.

Tip: To capture the essence of Sinatra’s favorite, use San Marzano tomatoes for your sauce. They’re renowned for their sweet flavor and low acidity, perfect for a classic Sunday Sauce.

When it comes to preparing Veal Milanese, another Sinatra favorite, the key is in the quality of the veal and the crispness of the breading. This simple dish, when done right, is a testament to the beauty of Italian cooking.

To enhance your Italian cooking experience, consider using a high-quality olive oil. A drizzle of this golden elixir can elevate a simple Arugula Salad, a dish often paired with Sinatra’s meals. Find the perfect olive oil for your dishes here.

Recreating Sinatra’s Favorites

To recreate the magic of Sinatra’s beloved meals, start with the basics. Fresh, quality ingredients are paramount. Italian cooking is all about simplicity and letting the natural flavors shine.

For a dish like Fusilli with Garlic and Anchovies, the trick lies in balancing the robust flavors. Remember, Sinatra preferred it with a light touch of garlic. This dish is a beautiful interplay of pungent garlic, salty anchovies, and the comforting texture of fusilli pasta.

Tip: When cooking pasta, make sure to salt your water generously. It should taste as salty as the sea to bring out the pasta’s flavor.

Pollo Vesuvio, another Sinatra staple, showcases the rustic and hearty side of Italian cuisine. This dish, featuring chicken cooked with wine, garlic, and herbs, encapsulates the warmth and richness of Italian cooking.

For an authentic Italian culinary experience, consider using a traditional cast iron skillet, which provides even heat distribution and a perfect sear for dishes like Pollo Vesuvio. Find a selection of cast iron skillets here.

The Legacy of Sinatra’s Culinary Tastes

Frank Sinatra’s food preferences tell a story of tradition, quality, and simplicity. They reflect a deep connection to his Italian roots and a love for the unpretentious yet exquisite flavors of Italy.

His favored dishes, ranging from hearty pasta dishes to simple salads, highlight the versatility and timelessness of Italian cuisine. These meals are not just a tribute to Sinatra’s tastes but a celebration of Italian culinary heritage.

Tip: Pair your Italian meal with a classic Italian wine. A robust Chianti or a crisp Pinot Grigio can complement the rich flavors of Italian cuisine beautifully.

As we delve into the dishes that Sinatra cherished, we’re reminded that food is more than nourishment. It’s a connection to our past, a symbol of our culture, and a testament to the simple pleasures in life.

In conclusion, exploring Frank Sinatra’s favorite Italian dishes offers us more than just a culinary experience. It’s a journey through a rich cultural tapestry, full of flavor, history, and passion. Whether you’re a fan of Sinatra’s music or a lover of Italian cuisine, his favorite meals are a testament to the timeless appeal of simple, high-quality cooking. Buon appetito!

Sinatra’s Sunday Sauce

Course: DinnerCuisine: Italian


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Embrace the flavors of Frank Sinatra’s beloved Sunday Sauce, a classic Italian dish that brings families together.


  • 2 cans San Marzano tomatoes

  • 1 lb Italian sausage

  • 1 lb beef short ribs

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup red wine

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Fresh basil leaves


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, sautéing until translucent.
  • Brown the sausage and short ribs in the pot with onions and garlic. Once browned, pour in the red wine and let it simmer until it reduces by half.
  • Add the cans of San Marzano tomatoes to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, then let the sauce simmer on low heat for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Before serving, remove the meat from the sauce. Shred the short ribs and slice the sausage, then return them to the sauce.
  • Tear fresh basil leaves and stir them into the sauce just before serving for a burst of flavor.


  • This sauce can be made a day ahead for enhanced flavors. Refrigerate and reheat before serving.
  • For a vegetarian version, substitute meat with mushrooms and zucchini.
  • Pair this hearty sauce with your favorite pasta and a side of garlic bread.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use a different type of tomato for the Sunday Sauce?
A: While San Marzano tomatoes are recommended for their sweet flavor and low acidity, you can use other canned tomatoes. However, the taste may slightly differ from the authentic recipe.

Q: Is it necessary to cook the sauce for 3 hours?
A: Yes, the lengthy cooking time allows flavors to develop and meld together. If short on time, a minimum of 1 hour simmering is recommended, but the longer, the better.

Q: Can the Sunday Sauce be frozen for later use?
A: Absolutely! The sauce freezes well. Let it cool completely before transferring to freezer-safe containers. It can be stored for up to 3 months.

Q: What’s the best pasta to serve with Sinatra’s Sunday Sauce?
A: Thick, sturdy pastas like rigatoni, pappardelle, or even homemade pasta work best with this hearty sauce. They hold up well and absorb the sauce’s flavors.

David Wright
David Wright
David Wright is a seasoned food critic, passionate chef, and the visionary behind GrubFeed, a unique food blog that combines insightful culinary storytelling with mouth-watering recipes. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, David's fascination with food began in his grandmother's kitchen, where he learned the art of traditional cooking and the secrets behind every family recipe.

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