Monday Meal Review: Vatican City

Are there recipes of loved ones long since gone that you continue to make?

I asked this question on our Facebook page the other day, and several of you shared touching comments about your family recipes . Valerie keeps her family recipes in a box. Whenever she sees the handwriting of her loved ones who’ve since passed, she says it feels like a “tap on the shoulder.” But, for some of you, it goes beyond the recipes. Theresa says she still uses her husband’s grandmother’s canning supplies. How wonderful it must be to eat jellies out of the same jars grandma did!

This week, when we made Cousin Alfred’s meat sauce for the Vatican City, I felt like I could taste the past. Like I was closer to him and those memories of standing in his kitchen, watching him cook. I also felt like I could taste my heritage, even though I’ve never been to Italy, let alone Vatican City.

And we were fortunate enough to share the meal with our neighbors. Our neighbors of Scottish and German descent.

This much I know: our country is as much a stirring pot as it is a melting pot. We interact, brush up against, swirl into, each other’s cultures all the time.

What is your heritage, and how do you keep it alive?


The Pope’s Fettuccine | Fettuccine alla papalina [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

Forget the pomp and circumstance; for a fancy pasta dish invented for a pope, this really is quite straightforward to make. The Parmesan melts from the heat of the pasta, the egg sets, and the result is  a cheesy sauce punctuated by bits of proscuitto and cracked pepper.

A fun tip I learned: you can make the cheese and egg mixture ahead of time, cover with saran and refrigerate until needed. A nice trick if you’re making this for a small dinner party. Just set it out on the counter while the pasta boils (about fifteen minutes) to take the chill off so it thickens properly

What I loved least about this dish:


Cousin Alfred’s Meat Sauce [Recipe]

What I loved most about this dish:

Our neighbor said this sauce was the ‘best thing that ever happened to him.’  Cousin Alfred knew what he was doing: the depth of flavor in this meat sauce is unreal. There’s umami, from the the mushrooms, good ol’ fashioned browned bits from the meat and onion, and so much more. Yes, it makes a big batch, but freeze or the leftovers in dinner-sized portions. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

What I loved least about this dish:

Nothing. I’d make it again in a heartbeat.


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