Cover image for It ain't sauce, it's gravy : macaroni, homestyle cheesesteaks, the best meatballs in the world, and how food saved my life
It ain't sauce, it's gravy : macaroni, homestyle cheesesteaks, the best meatballs in the world, and how food saved my life
Martorano, Steve, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
Physical Description:
177 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Salads, sandwiches, and antipasti -- Beginnings -- Macaroni -- Struggle -- Entrées -- Fresh start -- Desserts and drinks -- Moving forward.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX723 .M354 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Has cooking ever saved a life? It definitely rescued Steve Martorano from the streets of South Philadelphia, and an almost certain end in jail ... or worse. Raised on Gram's meatballs and Mom's macaroni, Martorano learned at an early age that full-flavored food made with loving hands was the only food worth eating. And, by the way, that's macaroni and gravy, not pasta and sauce , cuz. That's just the way it is in Martorano's world.

When it seemed like the only future for a kid from the neighborhood was to drive a truck or join the mob, it was this passion for food that inspired Martorano to reach for more and start his first "restaurant"--selling homemade sandwiches he prepared in his mother's basement. These sandwiches, served up with a side of Steve's personality, turned out to be the recipe for success and started Martorano in the restaurant business.

Eighteen years after opening the incredibly popular Cafe Martorano in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Martorano now runs a total of four successful restaurants in Florida and Las Vegas, and has built a devoted and ever-growing clientele--including a bevy of celebrities--who are more than willing to wait hours for a table. In this personal, funny, delectable cookbook, the self-proclaimed "heavyweight champ of Italian-American cooking" offers us a wide range of the dishes that have made his restaurants so popular. Among the book's seventy-eight recipes, you'll find tried-and-true favorites like Martorano Meatballs, Fresh Mozzarella, Stuffed Hot Peppers, and Fried Galamad Red (known as calamari outside Philly), as well as newer fare like Grilled Octopus, Rice Balls, and Sunday Pork Gravy with Rigatoni (featuring braised pigs' feet). And don't worry--Martorano doesn't skip the cocktails or dessert! Expect to indulge in Peanut Butter Cake with Peanut Butter Zabaglione, Cannoli Cream, Tuscan Lemonade, and Sicilian Mules. Steve Martorano's It Ain't Sauce, It's Gravy delivers all the staples of delicious neighborhood-style comfort food, served up in the author's one-of-a-kind, deliciously fun-loving style.

Author Notes

STEVE MARTORANO is the owner of Cafe Martorano in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, Florida, and two Martorano's locations in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has also launched a Martorano wine label, pasta sauces, and a line of clothing. He currently resides in Fort Lauderdale.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Americans have embraced Italian cooking as their most popular cuisine, whether preparing it at home or eating it in restaurants. The Italian American cuisine that immigrants developed over the course of the twentieth century is now giving way to an Italian cuisine more specifically connected to the original cooking of Italy's many and distinctive regions. So it's bracing to see a contemporary restaurateur celebrating that older style. Philadelphia-bred Martorano had a typical upbringing in the streets that gave him the physical and attitudinal stamina to be a successful chef. His mother and grandmother taught him how to cook, and he has established their meatballs as a renowned institution in Florida and Las Vegas. Recipes are generally easy to follow and don't require many difficult-to-source ingredients. As significant as his inventory of recipes is his narration of an edgy youth and early brushes with the law before redemption through discovering a deep passion for cooking.--Knoblauch, Mark Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Martorano was born into a family with mob ties in South Philadelphia, and the glamor of crime and easy money exerted a strong pull on him until he started his own sandwich business, which developed into a chain of successful restaurants. Martorano shares that dramatic story arc, along with the recipes that have made his restaurants so successful, in this engaging and mouthwatering collection of Italian classics. From the Italian hoagie that got him started to upscale fare like the elegant prosciutto-wrapped pappardelle with cream and truffle oil now served in his restaurants-not to mention the meatballs that Gourmet magazine called the best in the world-Martorano eagerly and generously shares his tips and secrets. Readers with a soft spot for Italian comfort food will find a lot to like: a grilled hot and sweet sausage summer salad; duck Bolognese; veal piccata; and chicken on the bone, a rustic dish featuring roasted chicken, sausages, mushrooms, and tomatoes, all beg for a turn. A thoughtful compilation of the familiar and the imaginative, paired with a compelling narrative, makes for an engaging and informative addition to the Italian cookbook canon. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.