Pasta dishes

Pasta dish recipes are as American as apple pie.

Wait a minute, that is not right. Pasta dishes came from the Mediterranean.

Okay, well, pasta dish recipes are as American as your Italian grandmother, who was born here.

And if anyone had some great pasta recipes, it was Nona. She would make pasta dishes for the church suppers. If someone was sick or had a new baby or had a death in the family, Nona would reach into one of the drawers in the kitchen and bring out an old book stuffed with her special pasta recipes, one for every occasion, and would make a dish that was irresistible…and delivered while sill warm, with all her love wrapped up inside.

Nona liked healthy pasta dishes. She believed that adults needed healthy pasta to maintain their weights while providing energy for hard work, and she knew that children and grandchildren needed the nutrition and comfort that her pasta dish recipes provided.

Every Nona loved to put the ingredients together slowly for her pasta dish recipes, partially because that is how the flavor built, but also because the aromas wafting out of the kitchen would draw kids, grandkids, uncles and aunts, cousins and neighborhood friends into the kitchen. And right next to the bubbling pot of sauce that had been sitting on top of the stove all day would be a wooden stirring spoon, perfect for taking a sample spoonful of the sauce when Nona turned her back…and she always managed to check on her pasta dish recipes when there were kids in the kitchen.

Then she would scold them for taking a slurp of the hot sauce. And right after that, she would smile and shoo the kids out of the kitchen.

When some of the bigger, much older kids came in, they would pick up the spoon and show it to their Nona: they did not want a scolding. She would urge them to try the sauce, and the compliments would flow, usually with an arm around Nona’s back and a kiss on her cheek. How those pasta dish recipes meant “family” to so many! And they still spell “family” in so many homes today.