HOME > Chowhound > Great Lakes >


ammoglio . . . and Detroit?

I bought some ammoglio today at Alcamo's in Dearborn. This is a fresh tomato sauce, spiked with alot of fresh garlic and herbs. Very pungent and, I think, wonderful.
I grew up in the Chicago area and do not recall this Italian sauce there.
Looking up ammoglio on the Web, most of the references seem to come from metro Detroit. Where does ammoglio come from? Sicily? I was in Sicily last year and did not see it there--although I certainly could have missed it.
Why is it so popular in Detroit area?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. According to this website, it's just a midwestern Sicilian immigrant thing:


    I'd like to know what the correct spelling is, if there is one. I've seen amoglio, ammoglio, amoghio, ammoghio, among others.

    1. Dei Fratelli has a product called Italian Dip which I think they used to call ammoglio. Not bad if you can't find it fresh.

      1. I just had some of this last weekend at my brothers....it's definitely a new trend. We're not Italian, but everyone seems to be serving it lately. Anyone have a recipe? It tasted great! It's like Italian salsa...

        1. I've never had this at a restaurant. I'm a firefighter and ammoglio was introduced to me at work. Every time I've had it it was served with thin steak, breaded and fried like chicken parm. The cold ammoglio is then spooned over the hot steak. I've made it myself with a can of petite cut diced tomatoes, chopped garlic, good olive oil, and herbs.

          1 Reply
          1. re: orangewhip

            At my brother's house, he served it on breaded fried chicken, just like you described with the steak. Did you drain the tomatoes and then put the whole thing in the blender? I think that's what my bro did....I'll have to ask him.

          2. I was just at my husband's friend's house yesterday (in Metro Detroit), where his wife (of Sicilian descent) had just made a batch of ammoglio out of fresh cherry tomatoes from her garden. Her recipe: take a bunch of ripe tomatoes, score the skins, blanch for a minute and then plunge into an ice bath. Remove skins. Rough chop tomatoes and place in strainer to remove excess liquid. (seeds are not removed) Pulse three times in a food processor to produce a very slightly chunky puree. (her husband likes it pretty smooth, but texture is up to you) Add a glug of EVOO, crush as much garlic as you can stand, and sprinkle some oregano, S+P to taste. (fresh basil did not make an appearance). She also said that you can make it with canned tomatoes in the winter.

            1 Reply
            1. re: keslacye

              Thanks--my garden tomatoes are almost ripe!

            2. We had this at a pot luck many years ago... basically an Italian "salsa fresca." Have it a number of times since, and the most recent at Sweet Lorraine's when you get the foccacia and then you get the pungent raw tomato sauce dip. It's been great every time we've had it.

              Sweet Lorraine's Cafe & Bar
              333 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

              1. Ammoglio is a U.S. interpretation of the Sicilian word Ammogghiu or in Sicilian-American slang is pronounced "moigu". Google ammogghiu instead. You'll be surprised. It is particular to Sicilian-Americans in Michigan, Massachusetts and Arizona because it started in the coastal regions (aka fishermen) of their ancestors from northern Sicily along the Golfo di Castellammare. I assumed for years it was an Sicilian-American concoction. Have visited Sicily several times and would ask for it in restaurants with a response of a puzzled stare from the waiter. At a Terrasini seaside restaurant I asked for it and was delighted to receive a bowl of this marinade. My Sicilian grandmother born in early 1880s introduced it to our family in America to be used as a room temperature topping (usually after grilling) for meats, poultry and some fish. Oregano was the orignal spice to peeled tomatoes, garlic, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Basil was an adaptation. Spelling of this marinade can be problematic since in pre- Mussolini Sicily, Sicilian was the predominate language; after all the Kingdom of Due Sicilie was an independent Kingdom until the 1860s. Google - SIcilian language. "O" is "U" in many instances.

                2 Replies
                1. re: janicep443

                  Janice--Very interesting. Molto grazie per la informazione!
                  Maybe my next trip will be to Terrasini, until then I'll make do with the ammogghiu at Alcamo's in Dearborn.
                  Which reminds me that my recent visit to Eataly in NYC was a let down: I would prefer a good family-run Italian market any day to Batali's monstrosity.

                  1. re: trapani

                    Batali is an embarassment to the italian community. He is to pompus. But that is my opinion. I'm sicilian and a lot like "MA" on the Golden girls...........

                2. There is a lot of speculation regarding the name of this sauce and why it is called what it is. Sicilian was and is a very convoluted language, with very little consistency, and very skewed pronunciations of things. It is a very confusing branch-off of proper Italian, so is not really a language, but more of a dialect, or a collection of inconsistent slang terms. It does not follow proper Italian, and the majority of their nouns, verbs, and pronunciations are made-up, or are a very fractured version of the correct ones. With that being said, it seems that the most agreed-upon and logical correct spelling and explanation is "ammoglio". which comes from the Italian verb, "ammogliare", which means "to marry". "Ammoglio" is the singular, present tense of the verb and means "I marry". Many chefs and linguists feel the sauce was called ammoglio, because of the blending or 'marrying' of the ingredients, and because the sauce is 'married' to certain dishes; almost always steak and chicken. One poster on here states, erroneously, that the word 'ammoglio' is an American interpretation of a sicilian word.That is just not correct. In actuality, the word 'ammogghiu' is a completely fractured and non-sensical version of the verb 'ammogliare' conjugated to the 'ammoglio' form. When pronouncing the word, the 'g' is largely silent, because in Italian, the 'gli' blend is pronounced with the 'g' very soft, so it all but disappears. Because of people not knowing how to pronounce Italian words, and because of the fractured sicilian pronunciations that have flooded the languge, the sauce is often called uh-MOG-you, which is completely incorrect and makes no sense. Ammoglio is the correct word, and any other versions were born out of shortening it, incorrect pronunciations, or just a plain absence of knowing what the correct word is.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: findsthetruth

                    If you mean the Italian language, you are correct. Sicilian is a written language with literature dating back to the 12th century. Dialect variations exists throughout Sicily and from town to town. The Italian language was not introduced to most of the population of Italy until unification post 1860s when the Tuscan language was introduced as the standard for all of Italy. Many Sicilans still speak the language and refer to their foods in Sicilian both in Sicily and abroad. Google - Dr. Gaetano Cipolla at St John's University for more on the Sicilian language. Another example would be artichoke. In Italian it is carcofi and in Sicilian it is cacocciùla, sometimes pronounced with a hard C as Kaa.

                    1. re: findsthetruth

                      Interesting indeed. Linguistics aside, I mightily enjoyed a recent stop at Alcamo's & many spoonfuls of the ammoglio in the days following.

                    2. I'm Sicilian and we used it on grilled chicken and steak. Made it with stewed tomatoes, onion garlic and sometimes green peppers cooked down and then used like barbecue sauce.