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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.

Ingredients

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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