Like games of telephone, recipes transmitted verbally sometimes result in muddled instructions that recommend cooking marinara sauce with onion, basil, and French Tommy's toes. Dine on well-enunciated edibles with today's Groupon: for $12, you get $25 worth of Italian fare and drinks at Provenzano's Ristorante in Red Wing.
Named after Grandma Provenzano, who braved the journey from Italy to America at a young age, Provenzano's Ristorante imports family recipes and traditional Italian and American cuisine with the care and consideration of their grandmother's transport. Provenzano's signature spaghetti and meatballs weighs down platters with pasta swathed in meat sauce, which clings to twirling forks like static to balloon vendors ($9.99). Spices simmer atop the rib-eye steak, dry-rubbed meat made tender by the kiss of the grill ($17.99), and alfredo sauce dances on the breaded surface of italian pork in the porchetta italiano ($13.99). Feed quadruplets or a barbershop quintet with the family-style dish, which dominates the table with spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad, and a plate of chocolate-chip cookies ($34.99), or pay homage to two-thirds of the Italian flag with red or white wines served at the bar.
The sound of Laura Provenzano calling out "Mangia, mangia!" would send her children running to the table, their stomachs growling in anticipation of the hearty Italian feast ahead. Today, her great-grandchildren carry on the family tradition at Provenzano's Ristorante, where they whip up a menu of the family's classic Italian dishes infused with a few tasty American additions. Within the restaurant's warm, spacious dining room, glasses of Italian wine meet with plates of pasta and pizzas, along with American-style burgers with Italian flourishes, such as shaved prosciutto. Come Sunday, a lengthy brunch buffet stretches across the floor, simmering with platters of freshly made selections.