Italian Flavors Make an Imprint on California Cuisine

Peter Gianopulos

Although the history of Italian-American cuisine is often written with a notably red-sauce bias—dominated by primarily southern Italian cooking in New York, Chicago and New Jersey—it’s been enterprising chefs in California who’ve shown the greatest willingness to continually tweak and redefine what Italian fare could—or should—taste like in America.

The story of Italian-American cooking in the West stretches back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As John...