Back to school recipes

Ciao: Kiss those canned sauces good­bye.

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.


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

Parmes­an cheese

- Heat oil in a large stock pot.  

- Add onion and gar­lic to the pot, and saut&ea­cute; 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.


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

Parmes­an cheese

- Heat the oil in a large fry­ing pan.

- Add onion and gar­lic and saut&ea­cute; 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

Olive oil

Gar­lic powder

Oregano, dried

Pars­ley, dried

- 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 Whats­cook­in­ or in care of the North­east Times, 3412 Pro­gress Drive, Suite C, Ben­s­alem, PA 19020)

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