Archive for the ‘pasta recipes’ Category

Aunt Rose’s Spaghetti

This recipe comes from my dad.  We’ve made this spaghetti for as long as I can remember and it’s always good.  It comes from my great Aunt Rose, as you’ll see:

If you’re looking for comfort food that’s quick and easy, this is it. Aunt Rose was a family legend, an outsized woman with an outsized personality, full of energy and full of fun. I was one in a long line of relatives who worked in her fancyshmancy grocery store, following in the footsteps of my mother (who Aunt Rose called “Miss Officiency”) and my Uncle Al.

Every Saturday I’d take the E Train to 53rd Street and walk uptown to Winter’s Market, on the corner of 71st and Third. My job was to help deliver food to Aunt Rose’s customers, whose cooks had called in their order for the day. Nearly all her customers lived on Park or Fifth Avenues.

Tony and I would drive over from Third, double park the van on a side-street, and head for the “service entrance.” Once in the basement we were glad to get out of the cold but not so pleased with the stifling heat of the furnaces and the stinky garbage cans. Our goal was the “service elevator” – the Rockefellers, the Guests and the other millionaires had their own, marble-paneled elevator, guarded by a doorman who stood outside the front lobby. Once upstairs we’d deliver our food to flirtatious Irish and Swedish cooks.

My aunt’s apartment was just around the corner from the store. At lunchtime Cora, my aunt’s cook (and perhaps this should really be called “Cora’s spaghetti”), would bring her a Mason jar filled with steaming hot spaghetti; Aunt Rose ate it right out of the jar. It was great then, and it’s just as wonderful now.

Aunt Rose’s Spaghetti

Made famous by (who else?) Aunt Rose, of New York City.


1 pound spaghetti

1 pound sharp yellow cheddar

2 28-oz. cans whole tomatoes in their juice

Lots of freshly ground black pepper

Grate the cheddar.  Cut up the whole tomatoes into big chunks, reserving the juice.  When the spaghetti is cooked (7 minutes), drained, and still steaming, add the grated cheddar and stir until it melts. Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, and a generous grinding of black pepper and salt. Serve hot.

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Sunday gravy

My friend Michaela sends in this recipe that’s perfect for a big family gathering or any night you have Tony and Carmela over for dinner.

This is an adaptation of a recipe from The North End Italian Cookbook by Marguerite Buonopane. When I lived in Boston in 1997-98, we developed the habit of eating in the north end as often as we could – and definitely every time my parents visited. On one of those visits, my dad picked up this cookbook from a stand in Faneuil Hall, and it has turned out to be a winner.

Made famous by Michaela in southern Maine

Sunday Gravy

1 lb Italian sausage – mix of hot and sweet
2 lbs meatballs
2 or 3 lean spareribs [we sometimes use bone-in pork chops when the grocery store is out of spareribs]
1/4 c. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
7-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
pinch each of dried basil, red pepper flakes, mint
1 6-oz can of tomato paste
2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 28-oz can tomato sauce
1 28-oz can water
salt and pepper to taste

Fry the meats of your choice in the oil in a large heavy saucepan. [Do this in batches if you have a lot.] When the meat is browned, transfer it to a platter. Add a bit of oil to the pan juices; when hot, saute the onion, garlic and seasonings until the onion is transparent.
Stir in the tomato paste and blend well. Add the tomatoes and sauce, and stir until blended with the tomato paste and oil mixture. Stir in an extra pinch of the seasonings. Add water, using the 28-oz can from the tomatoes. Keep adding water until the sauce remains the thickness you desire; we usually use the whole can.
Let the sauce come to a full boil; add salt and pepper to taste, along with an additional pinch of the herbs. Return the meat to the pan. Then simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for at least an hour, or until all the meat is fully cooked. [We save the meatballs until the end; otherwise they’ll fall apart in the sauce.] Stir gently every 15 minutes or so, using a large wooden spoon.
Serve with pasta. Lots and lots of pasta. The sauce also freezes well, which is good, because this recipe makes a ton.

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Here’s Vicky’s second recipe.

Mushroom spaghetti

When I want comfort food, this recipe is often the choice.  The key to this Northern Italianesque dish is to cook the onions ‘til they’re thoroughly done and sweet, but not brown.  I never knew onions could be so sweet.  In fact, sometimes I’ve made this without the mushrooms altogether.  Feel free to go light on the nutmeg to savor the onion flavor even more.

Made famous by Lorraine Shaiman, Seattle, Washington.
Serves 6

6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter
4 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 pounds mushrooms
Salt & pepper
Freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound spaghetti or linguine

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large heavy skillet. Sauté onions, stirring frequently, over medium heat, 5 minutes or until golden. Lower the heat to lowest possible. Cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. The onions must be very soft, but not browned.

While the onions are cooking, wash and drain the mushrooms. Cut off the tip of the stem and slice the mushrooms thinly lengthwise, including the stem. Heat the remaining butter in another skillet. Sauté the mushrooms in it, stirring frequently over medium heat until soft. Add the mushrooms to the onions. Season with salt & pepper to taste and stir in the nutmeg. Mix well. Keep the sauce hot over lowest possible heat, while the spaghetti is cooking.

Five minutes before serving, add the cream to the sauce. Stir well and heat through. Do not boil or the sauce will curdle. Drain the spaghetti and place in a serving dish. Pour the sauce over the spaghetti; toss thoroughly. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese on the side.

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