Tuesday, August 25, 2009


As promised---

Dad's Pasta


  • One large onion
  • One large red or green pepper (red pepper makes it sweeter)
  • One clove garlic, sliced
  • One pound Italian sausage, formed into small balls
  • One pound mushrooms, sliced
  • Two 15.5 ounce cans Italian stewed tomatoes
  • One small can tomato paste (for thicker sauce, add more tomato paste)
  • Salt
  • Fennel seeds
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Pasta of choice (ziti, shells, or twists)


Slice and dice onion and pepper. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil to large pan and cook pepper on medium heat until it starts to soften. Add onion and continue cooking pepper and onion until onion starts to look transparent. Remove onion and pepper from pan and place in bowl.

Add more olive oil, then add sliced garlic to oil and then add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms shrink and become soft. Remove and add to bowl with onion and pepper.

Form sausage into small balls (if using link sausage, remove skin and then form into balls) and cook at medium heat until done. Cut stewed tomatoes into smaller pieces using a fork or pastry cutter. Then add stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, peppers, and mushrooms to sausage and simmer on low heat, stirring often. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, 2 to 3 pinches fennel, 3 to 5 pinches each basil and oregano, and pinch of cayenne pepper (adjust spices to taste). Cook for at least 30 minutes (longer is better) and then taste again. Add seasonings as desired.

Cook box of desired pasta per directions on box.


Serve with green salad, garlic bread, and a good red wine. Serves four adults.


Something extra---

Due to requests from friends and family, I wanted to include one more recipe. For years I've searched high and low for a traditional macaroni and cheese recipe. It seems everyone from Julia Child to Emeril Lagasse has their own take on how macaroni should be prepared. Wanting only to playcate my anything but refined palate and to prepare a delicious side dish for a weekend BBQ, I attempted once more to find the perfect macaroni and cheese recipe. After searching the Internet, I stumbled across this recipe. It's Frannie Farmer's classic recipe and it makes the best macaroni and cheese I've ever tasted. In my opinion, it's mac and cheese at it's finest---cheesy, textured gooeyness, with a golden top layer formed by its final minutes in the oven's broiler.

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think.

Fannie Farmer's Classic Macaroni and Cheese

35 min | 15 min prep


  • 1 (8 ounce) package macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups good quality shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup buttered breadcrumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan melt butter.
  4. Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended.
  5. Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly.
  6. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly).
  7. Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) 10 minutes.
  8. Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.
  9. Turn off flame.
  10. Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.
  11. Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish.
  12. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  13. Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.
  14. (You can also freeze this recipe in zip-lock bags for later use - once you have mixed the macaroni along with the cheese sauce allow to cool to room temperature before adding to your freezer - I generally pull it out the night before and allow macaroni and cheese to reach room temperature; I then add the macaroni and cheese to a buttered baking dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and then bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbling.