For The Gluten Free

If you’re eating gluten free just because you think it’s healthier, I say forget about it. None of us are getting out of here alive so we might as eat, drink and be merry.

However, we do have a family member with celiac disease, which is a cruel fate for an Italian. Barilla makes a pretty good gluten free pasta, but that doesn’t help when it’s holiday time and nothing will do but homemade ravioli. So I found this gluten free pasta recipe and used it to make some darn good ravioli, and I didn’t even have to say so myself.

One of these days I’ll get around to publishing our family’s ravioli recipe. They’re really not that hard to make. But in the meantime I’ll share my recipe for gluten free pasta.

The dough has a different texture, rather slippery when wet. Without gluten, it lacks elasticity, which makes it really impossible to make ravoilis the way we usually do. You really need to make raviolis one at a time when using gluten free pasta. Just wet the edges of both pieces of pasta and crimp well.

OR you can roll out your dough, spread on the filling, then roll up jelly roll style. Wrap the roll in cheesecloth, tie the ends so it looks like a big firecracker, and drop it boiling water to cook. When done, cut in slices and top with your sauce and cheese. Looks different, but is easier and tastes just the same. In this case it would be called “Rotolo Italiano”. (Italian Roll)

Slop In A Pot

How’s that for selling it? Can you tell I once worked in advertising? Admittedly, maybe not my most successful career.

Seriously, every cuisine has some version of slop in a pot. Throw a bunch of ingredients together in one pot & somehow magic happens. This is a favorite go-to dish when I want pasta, but don’t have any spaghetti sauce in the freezer, and don’t want to spend any more time in the kitchen than I have to. OK, that’s pretty much a constant.

I really had nothing for dinner the other night and needed to throw something together in a hurry, and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand to make this. It’s sort of Tex-Mex meets Italy. I don’t know how that works, but it does. Why choose Hamburger Helper when you can make Tagliarini?


For The Love Of Spaghetti

My mom’s parents came from Italy, so half of the blood running through my veins is probably spaghetti sauce. My Nonno (grandpa) came to the U.S. when he was 5, but Nonni (grandma) didn’t come until she was 21. So she was always REALLY Italian, old school, F.O.B. Actually, “Nonna” is grandma in Italian, but since ours was less than 5 feet tall, we thought she looked more like a “Nonni”.

Here she is at my wedding. She’s wearing heels, & I’m not!Noni

Noni never learned to drive, so she was always home gardening, cooking, and keeping the cookie jar full. This was handy for me, because she lived just a quick walk across the vineyard from our house. If I timed it right, I could catch the early farmer’s dinner at Noni’s, then head home for the later dinner service at Mom’s.

Both were terrific cooks, which is why Nonni was always telling me with her usual tact and thick Italian accent, “Oh, your butta comma so big!”. Those old Italian women had no filters. My generation has filters, we just choose not to use them because we think we’re funny. Our children are not amused.

Anyway…Nonni sadly died and left us with no written recipes except for persimmon cookies & Italian cake. I decided it was my sacred duty to write down an actual recipe so our family’s version of spaghetti sauce will live on.

All Italians make sauce differently, and all swear their is the best. But of course they’re all wrong, ours is! I give you my detailed instruction for Spaghetti Sauce ala Rosetta Magnone.