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Plenty Of Pasta

Many believe pasta was introduced to Italians when Marco Polo returned to Italy
from his travels. Some believe that the Chinese were responsible for introducing
the noodle. What we do know is that pasta existed in Italy during ancient Roman
times.

My own love for pasta began years ago after my brother Pepper visited his friend
Franco in Bologna, Italy, and returned home to cook the most wonderful recipes
for carbonara, fettuccine, linguine, and spaghetti. They have continued that tradition
of traveling to visit one another and cooking the best Italian meals for most
of the last 30 years. Preparing a great sauce takes time but it’s worth the effort.

Yet one of my favorite ways to enjoy spaghetti is to simply toss it with chopped
tomatoes, cheese, olive oil, and herbs. It’s light and very satisfying. 

For a heartier meal and one you won’t soon forget, try Pepper’s Pasta or his own
homemade spaghetti sauce with meatballs. It just doesn’t get better than this.
Kick back the next time you have a free afternoon and let the sauce simmer!

PEPPER’S PASTA

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons butter

1 bunch green onions, chopped with tops 

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz. fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced

1 (5-3/4 oz.) can pitted black olives, sliced

1 pound thinly sliced and chopped ham

1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes

3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

3/4 pound bacon, microwaved until crisp, drained 

and chopped

Salt to taste

1 lb. fettuccine noodles

Melt olive oil and butter in large pot over medium heat. Add green onions and
1/2 of the dry white wine. Add cracked black pepper and saute until onions are
tender and translucent. Add garlic, mushrooms, and remaining 1/2 cup wine. Add
olives and ham to mixture and adjust heat to very low simmer. Add dried parsley,
thyme, and rosemary and continue to simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Adjust seasoning
with more cracked black pepper and salt if necessary. Add bacon and set mixture
aside. 

Before beginning white sauce (recipe follows), heat a large pan of salted water
to boiling. Add fettuccine noodles and cook according to package directions.

WHITE SAUCE

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 stick butter

3-1/2 Tablespoons plain flour

1 quart half-and-half milk

1 teaspoon cracked black paper

Salt to taste

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1 Tablespoon freshly chopped parsely

In heavy pan combine olive oil and butter. Heat until butter melts. Add flour
and stir. Heat over medium heat until mixture boils. Slowly add half-and-half.
Add pepper and salt to taste. Continue cooking over medium heat until mixture
thickens. When sauce begins to boil, remove from heat and add all but 2 Tablespoons
of cheese.

When fettuccine pasta is cooked and drained, combine all ingredients together
and toss to mix. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Serves
8-10.

HOMEMADE SPAGHETTI WITH MEATBALLS

SAUCE

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons butter

1-1/2 bunches green onions, chopped with tops

1 cup dry red wine (can replace with chicken 

broth)

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 (28-oz.) can tomatoes, undrained

3 (6-oz.) cans tomato paste

1 Tablespoon parsley flakes

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

Cracked black pepper (coarsely ground) to taste

Salt to taste

1/2 pound bacon, fried crisp, drained, and cut into 

small pieces

1 Tablespoon bacon grease

Melt olive oil and butter together in large heavy pot. Add green onions and
1/2 cup of the dry red wine. Saute until onions are tender and translucent.
Add garlic, mushrooms, and remaining 1/2 cup of wine. Add tomato paste and tomatoes.
Mash tomatoes lightly with potato masher. Mix well. Add parsley, oregano, thyme,
and rosemary. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Add fried bacon pieces and
bacon grease and simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 1-1/2 hours. Add meatballs
(recipe follows).

MEATBALLS

3/4 pound ground veal

3/4 pound ground chuck

3/4 pound ground mild Italian sausage

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon butter

1/2 medium onion

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. You may use an
electric mixer. Shape mixture into 2-inch balls. In large skillet, over medium
heat, brown meatballs on all sides, approximately 5 minutes. Add these to spaghetti
sauce and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

SPAGHETTI

1 lb. spaghetti

1/2 stick butter

Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

While meatballs are simmering in sauce, bring a large pan of water to boil and
add spaghetti. Cook until tender, according to package directions. Drain spaghetti,
then add butter. Place pasta on plates, serve with sauce and meatballs in center
of pasta, and top with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Makes 6-8 generous
servings.

SPAGHETTI WITH UNCOOKED TOMATOES

1 pound spaghetti

2 pounds tomatoes, chopped

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced 

and chopped

2 small Vidalia onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and place in large bowl.
Combine all ingredients except cheese and pour over spaghetti. Toss lightly.
Pass the cheese at the table. Serves 6.

ROTINI SALAD WITH BLACK OLIVES

3/4 pound tri-color rotini pasta (usually egg, 

tomato, and spinach)

1 cup black olives, pitted and sliced

1-1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

1 small yellow squash, shredded

2 Tablespoons chopped parsley

3/4 cup mayonnaise thinned with a small amount 

of olive oil

Black pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Cook rotini until it is done, following package directions. Drain and rinse.
Place in large bowl, combine all other ingredients, and toss. Sprinkle with
Parmesan or Romano cheese. Serves 6.

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