Monday, January 27, 2014

Something So Simple: A Pasta In Memoriam

     This post is going to be a quick one.  Not so much about what specific ingredients go into this dish, but what this dish means to me.  One of these days I will give a recipe for a good marinara for pasta, but this post is strictly about what goes on top and what this simple pasta dish means to me.  Just recently my family lost one of our own, my great aunt/Godmother.  She was my grandmother’s sister and just so happened to be married to my grandfather’s cousin.  (Happens a lot throughout the small immigrant families). Anyways, as the years passed on, I only got to see her maybe once a year.  I sent her and my Godfather Christmas cards and even sent them one of our first attempts at wine making. 

      As a kid we would go to visit them at least once a year in the summer.  Every time my aunt would have a big dinner of homemade pasta.  Just like my grandmother and mother it was typically served with marinara, fresh bread, fresh cheese, etc.  However something was always a bit different.  Everyone has his or her own way of making the exact same dish.  I remember what my Aunt Rosie had that always stuck out in my head.  She always had a nice crystal dish of fresh shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese.  It seems like such a minor thing to remember, but to me it always stuck in the back of my head.  My grandmother and mother only served finely grated cheese, albeit normally fresh as well, but seeing it shredded in long strings was to me what made Aunt Rosie just a bit different. It was exciting to have the pasta with marinara like that.

     Years after growing up some, I would convince my mother and grandmother to shred the Parmesan cheese versus grating it.  Occasionally I got my wish even thought they preferred it grated.  When asked why, I always stated it was because that was how Aunt Rosie had it and I liked it that way.

     So here's the simple part.  Take any pasta of your choice.  I used boxed rigatoni. Take left over marinara sauce and spruce it up a bit.  I used some fresh chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, basil leaves, and a pinch of oregano.  Whatever it is is fine, as long as it's marinara. After the pasta is cooked slowly mix it into the sauce. Serve in a nice bowl and top with the best part, Fresh Shredded Parmesan Cheese.  Nothing is better than having a nice fresh cheese slowly melting into your pasta dish.  Thank you Aunt Rosie for a simple memory that will always be mine and mine alone.

Salute Aunt Rosie

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