Across the city, the hum of air conditioners has ceased, as has the sound of splashing water in the pools. Neighborhoods have grown quiet. On the horizon, you can see it coming ever so cautiously down the street. The mere sight of it strikes terror in young hearts while at the same instant it induces total and unequivocal tranquility in the hearts of their mothers. It’s big. It’s yellow. Here comes the school bus!
As the school bus delivers our true natural resources back to the classroom, good, nutritious foods will help to keep them alert and to satisfy them. College “kids” also require healthy foods. If the meal plan needs a little help, pasta is a good way to satisfy hunger. High in vitamins and carbohydrates but low in fat, pasta is the meal ticket. With a simple sauce and an easy, quick-cooking pasta – dinner is served. Get the sauce cooking!
It’s a good thing that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi didn’t get his way in 2007. He doesn’t like “stinking garlic,” and wanted it banned from Italian restaurants. Who can imagine “gravy” without the garlic?
This time last year, my neighbor Adrienne was on her way to Temple’s Study Abroad program for the semester. Her apartment in Rome was nice, but had a fridge the size of a wine cooler, bare bones kitchen utensils and a stove that needed a lighter to fire up the burner. But she still managed to cook quite a few meals. She told me that Sunday was reserved for studying and sauce making. Because the sauce cooked a few hours and needed a stir now and then, her sauce kept her studying and cooking – Cook – Stir – Study. Cooking turned out to be a study aid.
Sunday nights brought together seven to nine students who would bring along a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine but, most importantly, a bowl, fork and spoon to enjoy dinner with Adrienne.
Whether it’s across the street or across the ocean to get to class, students look forward to mealtime. Here is Adrienne’s recipe for “Saucy Sauce.” Her hint to all first-time sauce makers is: Have your sauce ready and hot before you drain the pasta.
ADRIENNE’S SAUCY PASTA SAUCE
½ cup olive oil
4 large onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
6 to 8 lbs. fresh tomatoes, cored and diced
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2-3 Tbsp. fresh basil
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. sugar (optional)
½ cup dry wine (red or white)
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a large stock pot.
- Add onion and garlic to the pot, and sauté a few minutes until onion is translucent.
- Add the cored and diced tomatoes and continue to cook on medium heat.
- Stir sauce intermittently until the sauce cooks down and thickens. (About 2½ hours)
- Add oregano, basil, sugar, wine and salt and pepper and continue to cook for an additional ½ hour.
- Serve with Parmesan cheese to sprinkle (generously) atop your favorite pasta.
If classes are running late, but you’re hankering for pasta, the following sauce is a good, quick one.
QUICK POMODORO SAUCE
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 can tomatoes, 28 oz, drained
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
- Add onion and garlic and sauté a few minutes until onion is translucent.
- Add the drained tomatoes, oregano, parsley, basil, sugar and salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil then turn heat down and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens.
- Serve with Parmesan cheese.
A good accompaniment to pasta is the following quick garlic bread.
Loaf of Italian bread or rolls – split in half lengthwise (Yesterday’s bread works fine.)
Butter - slightly softened so it’s spreadable
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Split loaf or rolls in half – lengthwise, and arrange on foil.
- Butter the bread lightly.
- Drizzle oil over bread lightly.
- Sprinkle with garlic powder, oregano and parsley.
- Broil bread 4 to 6 inches from flames for a minute or two, until bread warms and browns slightly.
- Watch it carefully! Cut into slices and serve.
Mangia bene, vive a lungo e gusta!
Have a good Labor Day!
(Questions or tips can be sent to Donna Zitter Bordelon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Northeast Times, 3412 Progress Drive, Suite C, Bensalem, PA 19020)