top of page

Rudolph Valentino's Spaghetti Sauce

Rudolph Valentino was one of the most popular stars of the silent era and remains of the most iconic. Off screen he was known for whipping up spaghetti for his friends in Hollywood.


This recipe has been slightly modified from the one posted by Silver Screen Suppers.


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use 1 tablespoon butter 1 large onion, diced 1 and 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 28 oz can whole san marzano tomatoes or 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes 1 lb Italian sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces or formed into small meatballs 5 cloves garlic minced (to your taste) Pinch of red chilli flakes (to your taste) Fresh or dried oregano (to your taste) 2 anchovy fillets or 1 tablespoon anchovy paste 1⁄4 sweet marsala cooking wine 1⁄2 cup red wine, plus more wine if needed Flat leaf parsley Fresh parmesan cheese, grated


In a 10 inch skillet (sides roughly 3 inches high) melt 1 tablespoon olive and butter over medium heat. Add in the sliced mushrooms and sauté until they start to lose water and start to brown. Add a pinch of salt and then add the marsala wine, let the wine cook off. Then remove the mushrooms and set aside. No need to wipe the pan clean.

Add sausage to the hot pan (medium heat) and cook until browned but no need to cook through, it will finish cooking in the sauce. Once browned on all sides, remove from pan. No need to wipe the pan clean.

If you need to add fat to the pan, add more olive oil. Then add the garlic, chili flakes and anchovy paste to the pan, sauté until you smell the garlic, be careful not to burn it. Add the diced onion and stir for a few minutes. Add in the tomato paste and stir to coat the onion and garlic. Add in the red wine, stir until bubbling and then add the tomato sauce and the crushed or chopped tomatoes. Stir and add oregano (if using dry, rub it between your hands over the pot to crush it and bring out the flavor), if you are using fresh put in the stalks of oregano (4 or so stalks). Turn heat to medium low, cover with a lid and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

Taste the sauce for seasoning, remove the oregano stalks add additional seasoning to taste.

Serve with spaghetti and grated cheese. Serves 4.

Special Guest

Donna Hill is a film historian, researcher and author of the book "Rudolph Valentino The Silent Idol: His Life in Pictures." She serves on the board of the Film Preservation Society, Inc. and blogs at Strictly Vintage. Donna is also an incredible cook and guided me through making this recipe.

The Final Result

I heard that Valentino always stood on a stool and wound up the spaghetti, but advised against cutting the noodles. I think overall Valentino would be pleased.

Since 2002 I've taken on the role as a "Lady in Black" for Rudolph Valentino. Every year on the anniversary of his death I attend the annual memorial service and leave a red rose on his grave. I am not territorial about the role and I love to see other women doing this as well. I say the more the merrier! In this photo, I'm holding hands with actress Terry Moore. In 1952 she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the film "Come Back, Little Sheba". She is a fascinating lady who has been working in Hollywood since 1940. It has been an honor to spend time with her. Terry is playing the "Lady in Black" in an independent film about Valentino's life.


bottom of page