The closest any member of my family has come to being Italian was a 16-month period beginning in 1985 when my mother insisted on calling my new boyfriend “Vince Scallopini”.
“That’s the veal, Mom, not the Vince” I’d say repeatedly. She’d laugh and continue undeterred right up until our wedding when she decided “Laura Scallopini” didn’t have quite the same ring.
Except for our son Vinnie, who ran into the cast of Jersey Shore in El Duemo during a high school choir trip to Florence, we’ve never even been to Italy.
We are, however, big fans of pasta, garlic and Mario Puzo and I honored all three the other night in a crazy attempt to turn seven nearly rotten tomatoes into genuine Italian gravy.
Here’s how the evening went down:
Wanna-be Italian spaghetti sauce
7 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled and chopped
Four cloves garlic, pressed
1 Teaspoon each chopped Italian parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme
1 tablespoon basil
Two medium onions, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
Saute onions, garlic, and herbs in olive oil for four or five minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and bay leaves and heat to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves. Serve over hot pasta and sprinkle with grated cheese (Parmesan, Asiago, Mozzarella).