That's the one I contributed.
I see it.
I see you.
I see you.
I love that.
-Philadelphia's the second- largest Italian community outside of New York.
That's killer meat!
-That's, like, soul food.
You know what I mean?
-Yeah, it is soul food.
-On a Sunday in this neighborhood, you can smell every -- every home.
-You can smell it.
It smells so good in here.
-You know what I mean?
What I'm learning about Italian food -- the labor, the amount of craftsmanship that is kept.
It's absolutely amazing.
-Once stuff like this goes, it doesn't start again.
It just ends forever.
-What's the best thing about being Italian-American?
-South Philly is very multi-generational.
-You guys have been on the block for about 100 years.
I love that.
-It's like a symphony orchestra playing, like, Metallica.
-[ Speaks Italian ] -Drop the camera.
When a nonna says "mangiare," you better eat.
♪♪ I'm Chef Marcus Samuelsson, and as an immigrant born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, food, to me, has always told a deeper, more personal story.
It's a path to culture, identity, and history.
Join me on a new journey across the country to learn more about America's immigrant communities and culinary traditions to see how food connects us all.
♪♪ -When I think about Italian food, I think about pizza and pasta.
As Americans, I think we all think we know Italian food, because it's everywhere.
You can drive on a highway -- you see Italian food.
You can go into a supermarket -- there's versions of Italian ingredients there.
You can go to any major city, and they have tons of Italian restaurants.
So it's this thing that is so big that... What is Italian food?
What is Italian-American food?
It's something I've always been intrigued about, and I can't wait to discover it.
Most Italian-Americans came from Southern Italy, and then they came to the New Country and settled in cities like Boston, New York, and, of course, Philadelphia.
♪♪ Philly has the second-largest Italian-American community in America.
In this era of gentrification and people moving to the suburbs, the Italian-American community stayed in South Philly and kept building on generation through generation.
And it's pretty incredible to see that, in the middle of booming Philly, South Philly has kept intact.
Walking in South Philly almost feels like I'm transported back in time.
9th Street Market is this incredible market where it all started from.
It still pretty much looks the same as it did 100 years ago.
Marcus, What's goin' on?
-How are you, man?
-It's good to see you.
-Good to see you.
-Man, what's goin' on?
-It smells so good in here.
80 years, man.
80 years to -- -80 years of funk, right?
-That's right -- to build it.
-So, where am I?
What's goin' on in here?
-Well, you're in -- you're in the heart of the Italian Market in South Philadelphia.
-This is where my grandparents came when they immigrated over from Italy.
Danny Di Bruno is my grandfather.
His brother Joe Di Bruno, they're the Di Bruno Brothers, and they started the business.
-What is it about this place that makes it so special?
-This is where you get to learn about my grandparents... -Yeah.
-...about the culture, about South Philadelphia and the people of the neighborhood.
I worked here as a kid growing up.
I went to school around the corner.
I used to come here, and I'd eat the olives.
-You know, my grandmother and my grandfather, they'd make us lunch, then I'd go back to school.
This is my happy place.
-When you come in here, you kind of shut the outside world out a little bit.
-Like, I get, like, so excited to see -- You know, I look at the sausages, and a lot of stuff I know, but some stuff I don't know.
-So my curiosity for flavors just opens up.
♪♪ What should we try?
I want to try something that -- that you're excited about.
-What I really love in our antipasto selection here are the white anchovies.
-That is fantastic.
-T-They're so delicious.
It's like eating tuna fish, right?
So, I'm just imagining you, like, being 11, running in here with a buddy, and like, "Doesn't every kid have, like, lunch over here?"
You're eating, like, sardines.
-You're eating, like, olives... -Right!
-...briny stuff... -That's right.
-I love it.
-Because -- Because that's what my flav-- my palate wanted.
Can you give me a sample of fiore sardo?
'Cause I love this Pecorino.
-It's one of my favorites.
It's been here since the beginning.
My grandfather Danny loved this cheese.
-So, take a look at that.
-Do you see the colors?
-You see how it goes from dark to light?
-So, the cheese is aged in a cave, in a room, with smoldering balsa woods.
-And it just makes the cheese a little bit smoky.
-Definitely on back note, too.
That's where the -- the smoky flavor's big.
And towards the center, you get the... -Creaminess.
And -- And some acidity.
-And this cheese was one of my f-- I mean, from growing up.
It reminds me of my grandparents.
It's going to my grandmother's house and just pickin' on cheese and olives.
And sometimes, my grandma would just let it sit on the counter and get dry and grate it on pasta or on soups.
-You were like a gourmand at 12.
You know what I mean?
But -- But that -- that wasn't what -- Like, we didn't even think that then, right?
That was fancy.
It was just what you do.
It's just what we did.
It's just like -- -Mmm!
That was so good.
And people are like, "Ah, you're fancy.
You're eating fancy cheese."
It's not a fancy cheese.
-It's a basic, very rustic cheese that's been made for 150 years.
I know you created something amazing here, but this is also part of this incredible market.
-And I want you to show me this market.
'Cause I've heard about it.
I've walked it before.
But I want to walk it with you.
-It'd be my pleasure.
I-I love it.
Let's do it.
Let's go, man.
Thank you, guys.
Thank you so much.
♪♪ How old would you say this market is?
-This market started in 18-- uh, 1891.
So you would say it's the oldest -- it's the oldest -- -1891.
-It is the oldest continuously-operated open-air market in the country.
-It's absolutely the oldest.
-So, this market takes off.
It really starts further down, and then you walk up.
So, it goes about five blocks.
-And so, Christian Street is where all the stands start.
-So this -- this street has, on the east side, um, you'll see produce stands.
-Back at the turn of the century, when the Italians had came over, they moved to this neighborhood, and they walked to Penn's Landing area... -Yeah.
-...where they would unload the ships with produce and stuff.
And then, on push carts, would take them here.
They took them to this street because this street was full of textiles and coal houses and ice houses that they knew people were working in, right?
So -- So it was a cheap way to start a business on a stand.
-And then, I see some open fires, too.
I like that.
We -- We k-keepin' that?
So, this is how you got to keep warm down here in South Philly, right?
-Look -- Look at the -- the -- uh, the array of produce.
-You know, from the greens to the starches... -One of the coolest things was the warmth in the market.
There is a dialogue between the customer that comes there and the people who work there.
It's about being part of a community and holding up something of value of that part of town.
And the people who work there talk about the ingredients and the produce and the product with a lot of sense of pride.
-Although it's considered the Italian Market, it's more like a global market.
-We have today, after the Vietnamese and the Taiwanese and now the Mexican, you can get the mix of product and cultures in one area.
-I just love what each immigrant wave gives in terms of food.
Once you eat someone's food, you start seeing people for who they are.
-It doesn't sound as foreign.
And I think Italian food has done an amazing job in this country to help us understand that.
♪♪ Not only is the Italian Market in South Philly the oldest open-air market in America, it's also the home of Ralph's, the oldest Italian-American restaurant in the country.
The Rubino family is about to celebrate their 120th year of staying in business.
When you think about Italian-American food in this country, they are the epicenter of that.
Today, I'm gonna cook with Nana Elaine and Elaine's sons, Jimmy and Eddie.
-So, Marcus, we're gonna make our veal Parmesan.
And what type of veal are we talking about here?
-This is milk-fed veal.
This is the top grade of veal.
-Who do you buy it from?
Must've been -- I mean, it's all about relationships.
You guys have been buying from -- -We have Esposito's Meats at the Italian Market.
-They've been doin' it God knows how long.
And the seasoning is important, right?
Otherwise, it's just a bunch of bread crumbs.
-Yes, yes, it is.
First, we flour it.
Then we're gonna dip it in egg, put it in bread crumb, cover it real nice.
-We want to put our gravy back there.
Pan-fry some of these bad boys in some olive oil.
-It's so interesting -- a dish like this, like, the bread crumbs is so important because, if you burn them, it doesn't taste good.
There's -- Even though it's hot and typically when oil's hot the food itself you're cooking in it doesn't absorb the oil, it's still -- there's still flavor going into that bread crumb.
-Although, we like to think, even if we didn't season it, our gravy is so good, you know, it still would be good.
-When I think about gravy, right, I think about a creamy sauce that my grandmother made and I put it on everything -- on meatballs, on roasted chicken.
When you talk about gravy for an Italian-American in South Philly, it's red sauce.
-A nice ladle of gravy.
This is it.
-And that's it.
That's our veal Parm.
-So now we're gonna make the lasagna, right?
So, what we're gonna do first is season the ricotta.
-Eddie's yummin' over there.
-We're gonna eat soon enough, bro.
-I love ricot.
-Mix this really well.
So, we're gonna put a layer of gravy on the bottom.
And then we have our lasagna noodles, okay?
Now, what we're going to do is, we're gonna go seven this way, four this way.
You meet 'em in the middle.
-Lasagna is from Naples.
All of these things that we think about as Italian-American food get much larger than they'll ever be in Italy.
It was part of that "Italian meeting American" culture.
So the lasagna got richer, with more mozz, more ricotta.
It was a way to show that our culture is both big and rich and it matters.
And America loved it.
-We cook these noodles in salted water.
-It's important that you don't make the -- them too soft, also.
-Everything's al dente.
And that's -- It's funny, 'cause when Ralph first started... Ralph cooks most of our pasta dishes.
-That was one of the main things we said -- everything has to be al dente.
That's Ralph Allen.
-That's the Ralph.
Finally, I find Ralph.
-[ Laughs ] -Finally!
-The word "loyalty"?
That's it, right there.
-That's really, really good.
-I've been here 22 years.
-Very honorable person.
-No matter what's going on, I haven't missed a day of work.
-He has not missed a day.
-This is no lie.
And -- And how long have you been here?
-I was helping out at the door, maître d'ing.
-And they asked me if I wanted to come in the kitchen.
And it's been -- I've been in the back ever since.
It gave me goose bumps, because -- Talk about a family affair, but it's also the extended la famiglia.
The staff at Ralph's has been there for 20, 30 years.
They came in as kids, and they've never worked anywhere else.
There's something really, really beautiful about that.
And I think that says so much about the Rubinos, how they take care of one another.
What's the best thing about Italian culture?
That's what I love about it.
They don't change stuff.
That's what I love about Ralph's, and that's why I stay.
-The funny thing is, in this -- in our family, if you want to alter just one little thing, it's like going through Congress.
-It could take up to three or four years for it to pass.
Ryan, come over here for a second.
Uh, we're debating something as we speak.
-Listen, it's a bad idea.
Don't do it.
Don't d-- Whatever it is, don't do it.
What's up, man?
How are you?
-It's good to meet you.
-Good, good, good.
-How does it feel to think about your great-great-grandfather started something almost 120 years ago?
-When they came over, they worked before we opened up the restaurant, and they saved money.
-So the big step was coming here.
And then, the even bigger step was opening up their own restaurant.
-How long was it between coming here and working and then opening the restaurant?
-Seven years, right?
'93 to 1899?
-1893 to 2000.
-When you think about Ralph's 15, 20 years from now, how do you envision to take into the future?
-It's always about, how do we continue this and grow it with respect to where we've come from?
-And again, you don't want to pull too far in.
You just want to get it enough where it makes the curve there.
Bring these over.
-You got to be Michelangelo.
-So, it really is -- It's a work of art when you th-- It's like a puzzle.
A lasagna puzzle.
-[ Laughs ] I can't wait.
I want to eat.
♪♪ So, this is, what, three stories, four stories high?
So the restaurant part has always been between first and second.
-But then, what's on the third floor?
What was there?
-Well, years and years ago, when the immigrants would come from Italy, my father would take them in, and we had rooms up there.
-He'd sponsor them.
-He would sponsor them.
-They would take -- each take a room.
And that went on for quite a few years.
-But here's the funny thing -- when we were kids, Eddie and I, we and our friends used to play hide-and-go-seek up there.
-You would find in closets, like, bifocals... -Teeth.
-Teeth -- false teeth, gold.
-I have no problem with that.
I just didn't want to find the teeth.
Ed, remember the back room, back closet?
It was five bedrooms.
-Five small rooms probably about maybe 30 square foot with one bathroom with a urinal and a -- and a toilet.
-And that was it.
And everybody used that one thing.
When you talk about the neighborhood restaurants, Ralph's is almost in a category by itself.
This used to be a boarding home over 100 years ago.
This is a place where people came for safety.
They came as an immigrant.
They maybe got a job.
You could stay upstairs.
And all of that is in the walls.
The sense of la famiglia from 100 years ago to today has not changed.
It's really a cathedral, a restaurant, a family center all in one.
You know, these are big portions.
They are rich.
These are beautiful, beautiful dishes that has tradition.
And I can understand, like -- Think about -- you come as an immigrant from Italy, where things were -- where you were poor, and maybe you had to scrape together a little bit of meat, right?
You had the pasta.
You had the flour.
But the traditions that were had out of necessity in the early 1900s, we -- our family kept in the '60s, '70s, '80s because they were great foods.
-I mean, for me, I know you guys, why you're so successful.
-It's really, really delicious.
-Hey, thank you guys for inviting me here.
It's absolutely amazing.
-Thanks for having us.
-Thanks for having us.
-Here's to -- Here's to 120 years.
-Hey, if I can do half of that, I'll take it, I'll take it.
♪♪ -How you doing, man?
-We are at Termini Bakery.
The bakery opened in 1921 and will be celebrating 97 years this year.
I'm Vincent Termini Sr. -I'm Joseph Termini.
I'm -- I'm the third generation.
-I'm Vincent Termini Jr. -South Philly in particular is very multi-generational.
There is people that we see, young kids that we see here, that my grandfather served their great-grandfather.
The thing that's most important for us is that we make sure that we make my grandfather proud.
With the recipes, we're constantly hammering that home to our staff and our team to, you know, take a certain pride in what they're doing, 'cause, really, what they're working with is a living tradition for three generations.
It's very special.
-There's a lot that goes into the cannoli.
It's a very labor-intensive product.
The initial step is -- is the mixing of the dough.
-We put different spices in the dough.
And the secret of the cannoli is we put wine in the dough.
The alcohol makes the bubbles when we fry the cannoli.
-So once the dough is mixed, it then gets cut.
And then each one of them is hand-pinned on a maple dowel.
♪♪ -The frying process is a very scary process.
It's a 400-degree fryer.
Each one of them is hand-placed on screens.
[ Sizzling ] And then it gets taken out, cooled.
-And our signature item is the ricotta-cheese cannoli, which is whole-milk ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, sugar.
-I think it's a very special place for all Philadelphians.
When you come in here, it immediately takes you back, you know, to when you were a child and your -- your loved one took you in here by the hand.
♪♪ -After the first wave of immigrants settle and succeed, we see the younger generation really going back to the Old Country and focusing on regional Italian cuisine -- what is the origin of the dish?
So, one thing that most Americans don't know is that Italy by itself has 20 regions with its own rituals, ingredients, and ways of eating it.
How are you?
-Good to see you, brother.
How are you?
-Good to see you.
Good to see you.
Welcome to Le Virtu.
-Francis' grandfather, he was from the Abruzzo region, and Francis has taken it upon himself to really, really live all the different foods and culture from Abruzzo.
And you can taste and feel it when you enter his restaurant.
What a nice place.
-It's -- It's a simple Abruzzese trattoria, and that's all.
Philadelphia, it's actually the first city in the United States with a presence of people who are either born in Abruzzo or descended from people who -- who came from Abruzzo.
-Abruzzo is the most mountainous part of the Apennines.
It wasn't penetrated by highways until the 1980s.
-So a lot of really great traditions have sort of hung on there.
It's kinda -- They persist, I say.
When did that part of Italy start to migrate -- immigrate to America?
What -- What years are we talking?
-Well, Abruzzo is in central Italy, but it's actually part of what was the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, so it's culturally and historically attached to the South.
And so, after unification in the 1860s, things didn't go so well for a lot of Southern Italy, and you had sort of a guerilla war.
-So they fought about a 10-year war.
-And then they left.
-And then they left.
Oh, there really wasn't a lot of economic opportunity.
-And so, my grandfather... I-I think he realized the only way he could really help his family was to leave.
Wow, what a strong decision.
As a lot immigrants.
They come to that -- we come to that conclusion -- "I got to go."
So that is around 19...?
-Well, he left in 1909.
-So the -- so the -- the largest part of the Diaspora would have been around that time, right up until the 1920s.
1924 is when they slammed the golden door and immigration was limited by quota, but until that time, over 200,000 Italians were coming every year.
♪♪ -But why Philadelphia, do you think?
-Oh, it was one of the -- the greatest industrial centers in the United States, with a wider breadth of different manufacturing and things going on.
Everything here -- -And being a port town, so obviously... -And being a port town, yeah.
And, uh, so, it had -- it had those attractions.
And, you know, and as things happen, people would arrive and send back word to their families that there was opportunity here.
And so, my grandfather, his name was Alfonso Cretarola when he came, but there was a lot of anti-Italian sentiment, and he ran into a lot of trouble.
He changed his name officially to Francis Cratil.
-I have his name.
♪♪ -Imagine that his choices in 1909 leads up to this restaurant.
I mean, it's an amazing lineage, right?
It's connected, you know?
-And, uh, he must have been so proud to be like, "Well, yeah, like, you know, you kept up the flag."
-I often wonder what he'd think.
-He'd come in here, right?
-If he came through the door, he'd probably look at the prices and be like, "What?
But, you know, I mean, you know, I mean, he's a...
But, uh, no, I mean, I-I-I-I think of him all the time.
-I'm so excited.
It's gonna be fun.
I'm gonna be hanging out with chef, see what we got goin'.
-It's gonna be a great night.
Francis and his wife are really committed that the whole Abruzzo experience is relived in the restaurant, and one way they do that is that he takes his staff to Abruzzo and shows them what the place is, how they eat, and what the ingredients is.
They get inspired together there, then take that back to Philly and relives it in the restaurant.
So, what are we cooking today?
-Uh, we're gonna do taccozzelle.
I had this in, uh, the mountain town Pescocostanzo.
Um, and that's where, you know, Francis had originally had it.
So, we start with pork sausage.
-And we use nice fatty pork.
Keep it pretty simple -- salt, sugar, a little grated nutmeg... -Yeah.
-Do you get your ingredients from here?
-We use a couple of, uh, really nice imported things, but I feel like honoring the Italian tradition would be use what's local.
You use what makes sense for, you know, our neighbors, et cetera.
So this pork, uh, comes from a local butcher shop.
-Way before there was trendy farm-to-table restaurants in America, Italian regional cuisine did that all the time.
You work with the farmers, you work with the fishermen, you work with what's around you, and you create your regional cuisine.
-And then the two kind of magic ingredients here is gonna be your saffron... -Nice.
-...Navelli saffron from Abruzzo.
I mean, that just smells... -Yeah, it smells amazing.
-And then a little bit of truffle pâté.
-Oh, of course.
-And just, all these flavors kind of marry together.
-When you ate over there, it's not just what you're eating in the restaurant -- it's the whole culture.
What was your favorite thing about going?
-We -- We kinda ran the gamut.
We -- We ate at mom-and-pop, like, lunch spots.
Kind of work this apart.
So, we ate at nice restaurants.
We ate at a 3 Michelin star restaurant in the mountains.
-We ate at, uh, gas stations.
-And, honestly, some of the gas-station food in Italy is incredible.
So, this is the fancier pasta.
This was not at the gas station.
-[ Laughing ] This one was not at the gas station, no.
-You do that so naturally, right?
When I see that, it's like you've done it a million times.
And I don't think you can be anything else but a chef.
You know what I mean?
'Cause you've done it so many times.
You can tell.
-Francis... -[ Speaks Italian ] ...the best part of the job, right?
This is beautiful.
-This whole dish was about affluence.
It was a wealthy town that did extraordinarily well because of the height of the sheep, uh, herding and -- and the wool production, and this sort of cuisine comes from that.
-You know what's amazing with this dish?
Because the pasta is so thin...
So, this dish is both rustic and delicate at the same time, both with ingredients between the pork sausage and the truffle and the saffron, but also through the pasta.
-It's basically like a symphony orchestra playing, like, Metallica.
Do you know what I mean?
♪♪ -So, I grew up in a family that was very working class.
We didn't go to restaurants, ever.
-You ate at home.
But it was coming back from Abruzzo and really wanting to bring what we had found, because while there was so many people from Abruzzo here, some of that feeling was just naturally dissipating.
-'Cause you're far away from it here, right?
-Well, we are 100 years away from when -- when masses of people were arriving.
So, what did you find?
-It's an incredibly diverse cuisine.
And the mountains actually create sort of distinct culinary areas, 'cause they separate everything.
-So even within Abruzzo, there are diversity within its cuisine.
-That's the beauty of Italy in general, is that if you go 10 kilometers, the language will even change, the local dialect will change, and the food will change and even common dishes.
-I love Philadelphia, but when we retire, that's where I'm going.
I'm gonna reverse the cycle.
♪♪ -In Abruzzo, you can go like six miles, just 10 kilometers, and you're in a completely different part of Italy.
In South Philly, I just have to go across the street, and I can get a completely different experience.
I'm going to meet Franca.
And she is from the Molise region.
It was actually part of Abruzzo until 1963, so there's many similarities, but it's also a little bit more rustic, and I can't wait to cook with her.
What is the signature dish from your region in Italy?
And what does that stand for, "agrodolce"?
Sweet and sour, yeah?
-So, the sweetness and the sour comes from the balsamic vinegar?
-And then, you have some onions.
And when did you come to Philadelphia?
And did you... By boat?
So you were, like, a teenager?
Did you speak English before?
Yes, you do, yes, you do.
You do, you do.
So, how was that in the beginning?
Why did you fall in love with your husband?
Like, what was it about him?
When did you get married?
Do you go back to Italy?
What do you miss about Italy?
I love it.
You are, for me, like, the American Dream -- you come from Italy, you come from very simple means, you find a community, and you start your business.
That's really, really nice.
How big do you want the peppers?
Can I add the peppers in or...?
You want to put salt and pepper?
I trust you.
So when do we add in the balsamic?
We could do it now?
So, this is where the sweet and sour comes from, right?
No -- No olive oil with it?
Mangiare, mangiare, mangiare.
Franca was the most direct person I've ever met.
"Should we add something else?"
"Are we done?"
"What do you do now?"
[ Sizzling ] It's beautiful.
I like it.
I like it.
The texture is good.
It's beautiful, beautiful.
What would we eat with this?
Would we eat, uh, the bread?
Or what -- Yeah.
Franca's food tells a story of resourcefulness, right, more difficult times.
The purity and the honesty and the frankness that you can see in her, that comes through in her food.
Three, four ingredients -- finito, mangiare.
This smells so good.
We're gonna eat together, you and me.
What do you mean, you ate already?
You gotta... ♪♪ What I'm learning about Italian food -- the labor, the amount of craftsmanship that is kept.
It's absolutely amazing.
We take Italian food for granted.
It's something that everyone has had.
But it comes from somewhere.
And it doesn't come from a box.
It comes from someone who's actually making it.
And this pasta is different than that pasta, and it tastes completely different.
So it's an incredible way to sort of unpack Italian flavors.
Chef Lynn cooks Italian cuisine, pulling from both the South and the North.
20 years ago, she opened a restaurant, Paradiso, right here on this street, the same street that she grew up on.
What are we cooking today?
-We're gonna do some rabbit cacciatore.
-Out of all the things that she could have picked, rabbit is one of the hardest meats to cook because it doesn't have a lot of fat, and it can become dry easily.
And that's what I love about her -- she has her own way of cooking, she's very stubborn, she's gonna stick to what she likes, her traditions.
Do you think this is Northern dish, a Southern dish?
-I think this is more -- Well... -It's a Lynn dish.
-It's a Lynn dish.
[ Laughs ] -Yeah.
Cacciatore -- the origin behind it is Tuscan, and it's a game dish, so it's really... and then you add a bunch of vegetables, vinegar, tomato paste, water or stock, and then you just let it simmer.
And then comes this beautiful, moist meat, very often just, like, dripping off the bone.
Growing up here, did you cook a lot as a child?
-I have four brothers, so my mother was constantly cooking.
-Who came over?
-My grandmom, um, she was born in Italy.
Her dad actually came over first.
-And, actually, his first apartment was on Passyunk Avenue, on the 1900 block.
-So you guys have been on the block for about 100 years.
I love that.
I love that.
-Basically, yeah, yeah, yeah.
And the afternoon for, like, me and my friends consisted of basically walking this avenue.
Checkin' it out and see what's going on.
-And checkin' it out, getting some water ice.
-We would stop in, uh, Mr. Mancuso's and get some mozzarella cheese, and that would be a snack.
-I love that so much of your life has actually been right here.
-And now you have your own shop here.
-It makes me feel really good, you know?
So I think now... Do you want to get started on some burrata?
-Burrata it is.
-Explain to me the burrata.
So, it's... -The burrata's got the creamy center.
And it's a lot richer than mozzarella cheese.
-And, of course, more fattening.
-We didn't hear that.
-We're eating lean rabbit.
We can eat whatever we want.
So, this is the curd that I broke up.
-I'm gonna add some of that water to it, and we're gonna start to... -Mmm.
I love this recipe is all written out.
It's all done by feel.
-What is the recipe?
It's for those kinds.
But they're Americans.
They don't know.
Look at this.
Like, it just happened.
We went from curd to this almost, like, beautiful dough.
And what texture -- what are they looking for?
-So, when you pull it, like, a clean... Yeah.
-Without any lumps.
I love that about Italian food.
There's so much texture.
It's all dough.
Whether it's pasta or whether it's pizza or whether it's mozz, it's all dough -- it's all texture.
-It's all texture.
We're gonna add a little bit of that filling.
-There you go.
Get it nice and sealed.
So, the feel here is literally like a three-minute poached egg, a four-minute poached egg.
-And now we shock it.
-And that's how we do it.
-Can you believe that this American chick from South Philly can make the best burrata in town?
I am so impressed.
-Oh, thank you.
-Let's check on our rabbit.
-Is that good?
Is that good?
Just the smell of this, it smells fantastic.
That's, like, soul food.
You know what I mean?
-Yeah, it is soul food.
♪♪ -The whole idea behind the Neapolitan pizza is using ingredients that are specific to certain areas.
My name is Salvatore Carollo.
We are at Spuntino Wood Fired Pizzeria in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
My brother and I grew up in the business.
Uh, we're fourth-generation pizza-makers.
UNESCO decided to designate this as a cultural food.
Neapolitans really want people to stay true to the traditions and techniques.
We start with a really soft-type double-zero flour.
And then we do a nice long rise for our doughs -- anywhere between 48 to 72 hours.
When yeast feeds on the different sugars in the dough, it builds up different lactic acids and different sugars, and that's what gives you different flavors.
The tomatoes we get imported from the foothills of Vesuvius.
Um, there's different volcanic ash in it, so that has a direct effect on flavor profiles that you get from it.
Our bufala is from Campania.
The grass that the bufala feed on has a direct effect on its milk, which has a direct effect on its cheese.
We cook anywhere between 900 degrees and 1,000 degrees.
Pizzas typically cook between 60 and 75 seconds.
Neapolitans take their pizza really seriously, so we were happy to keep the tradition livin' on.
♪♪ -Italian food in Philly, it's such a unique scene.
It can be rich, laborious, and very complex.
Or it can be simple and straight-forward.
-What's up, boss?
How are you?
-What's up, man?
Come on upstairs.
-Good to see you, buddy.
Marc Vetri is a star chef.
He is one of the top chefs in the country, Italian-American or not.
Marc is really changing and expanding the conversation what Italian food can be and always opens up new doors of the possibilities.
So, Chef, when you opened the restaurant 20 years ago... -Mm-hmm.
-...you come in, you're a young, bright chef, you got all these ideas, and you're gonna do Italian food they way you've done it.
-That's all red sauce, right?
That's what you open with?
That's what we're doing?
What are we doing?
-Nah, that's what everyone thought, you know?
So, when I opened, I used to literally have folks eat here, look at the menu, and, like -- like, leave.
Like, "Where's the meatballs?
Where's the lasagna?"
-It is a complex thing, because I would say Italian food today is probably the biggest food in our country that people have a clear notion what it should be like, so then when you come in with something else, who is this guy?
You know, with anything, you have to stay what you think is the right thing.
My family is from Sicily, but I cook very Northern food.
I really like to think of my food here as more like the Italy sensibility.
-Tell me about flour milling.
You're a chef.
Why is it important to know about the flour?
Flour is flour, isn't it?
-Well, you would think that, right?
I mean, when you, like, mill your own flour, you get all the fiber, you get all those vitamins, minerals, all that stuff, the oils.
-That has flavor.
So, eat some of this.
-And it's just, like, nothing.
-But then, when you eat this... -Mm-hmm.
That's nuttier, yeah.
-...there's, like, flavor.
Like, that after taste.
-Like, that's when it hits you, like... Four seconds in, it's like, "Whoa."
-It's like, "You got a lot of stuff goin' on in there."
-But that's what flour should -- should be like.
-Your starting point is such a different thing, like... -Yeah.
-...just purely from flavor.
I mean, I'm like, still -- Like, there's, like, some -- some herbs in there, too.
-So I think we'll start with these, okay?
These are called petrofia.
-So you want to basically roll it so, you know, you have the ends that are thin... -Mm-hmm.
-...and the middle that's kinda thick.
-You're basically gonna use this edge.
So, it's just like this, and then... -That's a killer move!
-I love that.
That's so elegant.
-So that's, like, a really nice one.
That is so elegant.
-The texture of this is just like -- It's a little bit chewy, because it's, like, thickened certain areas.
So this dough is actually made with just flour and water.
It takes time.
Don't -- -Yeah, no, anger management at its finest.
Think about... -Yeah.
-Stick your hand on that.
-So, you're -- you gotta be more like... -Mm.
See what I mean?
I got to scrape it.
-That -- That motion, that motion.
-So you had it right at the beginning.
♪♪ -I-I -- This is the closest thing -- I was right there.
I'm gonna do one last one, 'cause I haven't contributed yet.
-And if you don't contribute, there's no meal, so I'm gonna work, you're eating.
-You're contributing, you're contributing.
You can eat.
-So, got some water boiling.
-You know, you don't want to heat this up too much.
-Oop, that's the one I contributed.
I see it.
I see you.
I see you.
-I saw it.
I see it in there.
-A little bit of orange really adds, like, a nice flavor to it.
This is definitely gonna have Southern notes.
This has definitely Southern notes.
-And then we're gonna do a little Parmesan.
We're gonna just put these here.
And the pasta is a beautiful texture.
Whole-wheat pasta, you know?
-It's something that, 15 years ago, someone would have said, "Ah, whole-wheat pasta, it's healthy and no good."
-You get a little orange.
That's the great thing about...this style of food.
There's three things happening here -- you get the nut flavor, you got the noodle texture, and you have that hint of the orange.
-If one of those things is off... -Mm-hmm.
-...the whole dish is ruined.
-The whole dish is off.
That is so delicious.
-And it's good.
-Changing the flour in pasta might seem like a small thing, but in terms of the context of Italian food that is so traditional, this is extremely revolutionary, that you can improve on the pasta.
Tasting those amazing pastas, the different textures, different shapes the -- the kitchen is producing and is extremely innovative, and it pushes the envelope of what Italian food can be in this country, not only in the city of Philadelphia.
Chef, what got you into cooking?
Like, why are you doing this?
Like... -My grandparents, they were from Sicily.
And they moved over here when my grandfather was 19, back in, like, 1920 or something.
It's a similar story for everybody.
Like, there was no money to be made, so he stowed away, and he made it here, and then they nailed him, and they sent him home.
And then he stowed away again, and then he made it here.
-Oh, they sent him back first?
-They sent him back first.
-He was determined.
He was like, "No, I'm coming back."
-He was determined.
So, we used to have, like, the big family meals down there.
-You know, the old-school, like, South Philly meatballs, lasagna, and all that stuff.
Making pasta from scratch is a lot of flour, and it can be quite messy, so after a quick wardrobe change, we're back, making meatballs and pasta with Marc's dad, Sal.
A lot of what Marc does today is rooted in his sense of tradition.
He remembers eating with his family, having these bigger meals.
This is kinda the glue to the Italian-American culture.
-We'll make some old-school meatballs.
So, I can roll meatballs with your dad?
-You got it.
-Little bit of flour.
So, you come back and do staff meal every now and then, huh?
-Yeah, on Mondays, usually.
-What a treat!
Did you ever take Marc back to Italy?
Did you guys ever go back home?
-And where is home?
That's a small town, right?
Right on top of the mountain.
It's the center point of Sicily.
And how was that?
-I was 15, yeah.
-Um, it was, you know, pretty emotional, you know?
-'Cause that was the first time you'd been back.
And that's the first time you saw, like, what your father was, like, running away from, you know?
-You know, how he lived...
They had... -No hot water.
-...no hot water.
They -- Nothing, basically.
-Pretty humble, huh?
-Yeah, it was very humble.
-Well, they didn't -- Didn't they live underneath in, like, the... -They lived in a cave.
-A cave, basically.
What's your favorite meal?
Like, what do you like to eat?
-Whatever Marc makes.
-Not exactly true, not exactly true.
The fact of the matter is, if I didn't own this restaurant, he would never eat here.
'Cause he doesn't like to eat like this.
-It's fancy, yeah.
-So, tell me the food when you came up.
-We had pasta every night.
My father would only have pasta for us.
Tomato sauce was Thursday night.
Friday was clams and Pa's spaghetti.
-Sunday was lasagna and ravioli.
And then we would have an entrée afterwards.
-I mean, we were poor, but we ate well.
-You ate very well.
I know the staff, they love when you come back.
-It must be fun for you, too, to see where -- -Oh, I've enjoyed it.
I've been doing it for -- 20 years I've been doing it.
-Even when you go to Marc's restaurant, family meal is really, really important.
The staff eats together.
Family meal in a restaurant is really about everybody coming together as a family.
-I made the meatballs.
-It is really the soul of the restaurant.
And the family meal at Vetri Cucina is fantastic.
This is delicious.
You know, I grew up with meatballs in Sweden, but they're different meatballs.
-They're different meatballs.
These are really good.
-I've had those meatballs.
At, um, at IKEA, right?
What could be better than to sit, cook together, and share experiences?
I want to take this opportunity and say thank you to Marc, and you, Sal, for opening up this place for us.
-It was our pleasure.
-Thank you so much.
I appreciate it.
-Dude, awesome having you.
♪♪ I can never think about Philadelphia again without thinking about all these incredible family restaurants.
It's all about honoring the past but also living this moment and how do you bring Italian-American culture, how do you preserve it, but also, how do you keep going for this new generation that lives so much faster?
What's up, Chef?
How are you?
How are you?
-Good to see you, man.
-Good to see you.
-I'm really excited to meet Chef Joey Baldino.
He's the president of the Palizzi Social Club.
Joey and his family have been running the club since 1952.
Joey's the third president in his family alone.
♪♪ I'm familiar with supper clubs and social clubs a little bit, but what does a social club really mean today?
-Well, before there was social media, there were social clubs, right?
So, it was for immigrants.
Those guys would come over and gather and try to assimilate into American culture.
This was a gathering place for them to, uh, help each other out and live their life in the New World.
-But this is really a cultural institution, too.
How do you think about the menu?
Because you can, on one way, argue that Italian-American cooking is so popular all over this country, right?
Sometimes it must be frustrating when -- when you see how popular the food has become... -Right.
-...but it's far away from the originality, right?
You can tell when -- when -- when you're making something that -- that you truly love.
Uh, and I think that makes the difference.
-So where do we start, Chef?
-All right, so, braciole.
Growing up, this is, like, an every-Sunday dish... -Wow.
-...that you would have with pasta.
-So, what -- Is this a top round?
Or what cut are we using?
Yeah, it's a top round.
Uh, we're just gonna slice it.
We're gonna pound it out real thin.
-And then we're gonna stuff it.
-And was there ever a dish that you felt like, this is my favorite?
-This is actually one of them.
This is, like, one of those dishes that, you know, every family has a version of.
-Do you think there will come a time that these dishes will ever disappear from the Italian-American kitchen?
Because you're basically in for the weekend doing this, right?
And imagine making it for, you know, 50 people in a restaurant.
-So it's totally labor-intensive.
I hope it doesn't disappear.
It's one of the reasons why I do these items here at the restaurant.
-So each generation can really talk about... -Exactly.
You know, the biggest compliment that I get when people come in here, is they say, uh, "Oh, this reminded me of my grandmother's."
-Or, "It gave me goose bumps just eating it, 'cause it reminded me of times past," so... All right.
So now we're gonna spread some lardo on it.
-That's so smart, because beef is dry, so you need -- it calls for fat, right?
And this is all flavor right here.
-All this fat and garlic and rosemary.
And we're gonna put some egg inside.
It's all about getting all this extra protein.
-Extra whatever you have, right?
And we're just gonna roll it up.
-I love stuff like this.
This is, like, really old-school, traditional cooking.
[ Sizzling ] -We're gonna braise it with a little white wine.
Uh, we're gonna sautée some onion and garlic.
We're gonna add, uh, tomato sauce.
-The amount of red sauce you guys must've had is crazy.
-Oh, my God.
And olive oil.
-On a Sunday in this neighborhood... -Yeah.
-...if you walk down the street, you can smell every -- -You can smell it.
-Every home is making a version of this.
♪♪ ♪♪ My uncle Mezzaroba, who was the last president before me... -Oh, nice.
-...and his wife, which is my, uh, my aunt.
-And they're decked out.
Look at that.
-They're decked out.
-It was their social life, too.
You know, they were able to take their family here, especially their wives and stuff like that, and they would have it, 'cause they didn't have money to go to some fancy restaurant or anything like that.
-No, no, no.
It was a night out.
-This is the crest of, uh, the town of Vasto.
I mean, Joey, to me, was amazing.
He has become sort of this curator of Old Italian dishes that he grew up with, but he makes them in such a modern way in the Palizzi Social Club.
And one of the coolest things that Joey did was really to open it up to non-Italians, make it a little bit more inclusive.
♪♪ This is beautiful.
-So, now you're eating the stewed tripe.
I love that!
-It almost has a little North African flavor to it.
-With the cinnamon and the... -Mm-hmm.
-You know, Morocco and Tunisia is right there.
This is truly the food that we grew up on.
-I think it's the better version of it, though.
-It's the Rolls-Royce of the food we grew up on.
This is delicious, by the way.
-I mean, this is amazing food.
It's been so nice to have a little bit unexpected dishes.
You know what I mean?
It's such a privilege to have, you know, real Italian-American food, from a specific place, with a specific purpose.
And that's the whole point.
This isn't a concept.
This is what we eat.
This is how we live.
-Marcus, this club today is more vibrant than it is in my -- was in my memory.
I used to come here with my grandfather when I was a little kid.
And my grandson, he will be the fifth-generation DiCicco to come here.
-You know what -- what -- what strikes me is that, you know, a restaurant like Ralph's is 120.
-You have the market, right?
-So, what you guys have done an amazing job at -- preserving the past, looking at the present, but also setting yourself up for the future.
It takes teamwork.
-And that was the point of these guys coming over.
They wanted to build their future for their kids.
And that's what this place was kind of about, too, because they wanted to become Americans and -- and build a community, and that's what they did here.
This place started in a small community which still thrives today.
-I want to say congratulations.
This is awesome.
-This is beyond a restaurant.
This is a very special thing you have going.
And for the first 100 years, you did it right, so don't mess it up.
-Thank you so much for comin'.
-Thank you so much.
This was awesome.
-Yes, thank you.
It was great.
♪♪ Italian food in Philly has so many different sides to it.
But it's always delicious and craveable.
Whether it's regional Italian food or Italian-American food, people came from the country to here and fought through adversities, difficulties and challenges, overcame all of it... -Yes.
-...and became one of the most important pillars of American cooking.
That's a story of transformation, and that's a story of success.
That, for me, is quite amazing.
-Next time on "No Passport Required"... -Boston is definitely a seafood town.
I actually did not know how big the Portuguese, Brazilian, or the Cape Verde community influence was in Boston.
I grew up with this.
I know the salt's flavor.
I know it.
-Stewed goat with yuca.
-I don't think Boston gets enough credit culturally.
-This is urucum -This just looks like a café in Rio or Zimbabwe, anywhere.
-Are you sure you're not from Uganda, too?
-Laughter -And the "Samuelsson"... -To order "No Passport Required" on DVD, visit ShopPBS or call 1-800-PLAY-PBS.
This program is also available on Amazon Prime Video.