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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pasta Month : October

I never knew October was the official month for pasta till a few days ago.

This great food source proudly claims to be rich in good carbs and important nutrients for our bodies :)
My take here is it tastes pretty good and nearly goes with anything so without a doubt get's a spot on my blog as a "Great" food item.
I'll reserve myself from all of the history surrounding where pasta was invented or who was the first to do so and instead will simply post about pasta recipes.
I'm sure this will be a work-in-progress post and as before will add items along the way.

To start things off I wish to give credit to a terrific website devoted to pasta...
The National Pasta Association- Pasta A-Z is covered. Included is pasta news, all about pasta", some family favorite recipes, healthy living and even a kids corner. Did you know October 26th, 2009 is World Pasta Day?

Growing up in a non Italian home probably doesn't qualify me to even remotely sound like a pasta expert but fortunately I married into an Italian family. That said, I'll go with the recommended brand Grandma uses... Barilla.  She claims if it's not fresh made the next best thing.
If it's half as good as her eggplant Parmesan I'm buying in.
I wouldn't dare ask Grandma if she'd share her eggplant recipe... She may only be 5 foot tall but can stare you down to below her knees :o

I visited the Barilla pasta website and was amazed with the wealth of information about Italian cooking and recipes they offer. Till now I had no clue what "pairing" was pertaining to pasta. How amazed I was to see how the "authentic Italian experience" started with the proper pasta shape and sauce combo! Heck, I remember needing an extra half a pound of something and added spirals to the mini shells for linguine and clam sauce. Tasted good to me. (I thought linguine was the sauce not the noodle).
What can I say... I'm half Swedish and Hungarian with a dose of other Scandinavian genes.

Additional Pasta Recipe Resources
  • BEST Pasta Recipes Website- You can be the judge of that. I'm just impressed with the enormous amount of information there.
  • Pasta Recipes- A blog formatted website very well organized I may say. "The site for pasta fans" adorns the top of the page.
  • Authentic Italian Pasta Recipes- Attilio from Tuscany near the leaning tower of Pisa. Sounds authentic enough for me! Tells how Béchamel Sauce is made for lasagna.  Terrible throat clearing sounding word but Attilio likes using it :)
  • Free Chinese Noodle Recipes- I guess it wouldn't be fair leaving out the Chinese. I for one don't like many Chinese food dishes because they all taste the same or give a slight variation of and leave you starving, ears ringing and thirsty an hour later. Oh what the heck they invented pasta (noodles)... Right?

What would a recipe/cooking blog be if I didn't share a recipe now and then...
Ma's Famous Tuna Mac-N-Cheese
Tuna in mac & cheese! Growing up with 6 siblings Mom had to be inventive in her meal planning while looking out for the kids nourishment needs.

1 pound pasta (normally elbows)
8 oz. sharp or extra sharp cheese
4 tbsp. butter (half a stick)
1 Can of solid white tuna
size of can to preference... Mom usually used the large can :)
2 cups of whole milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Cook pasta in family size pot. Grate cheese while the pasta cooks and set aside (avoid over picking).
When pasta is done, drain and return to pot. Add butter and fold till it is melted.
Add cheese, milk and eggs and put pot on burner on low to further melt the cheese and help blend with the butter, milk and eggs. Fold until all is blended and heated to a simmer.

Do not boil!
I remember as a kid when someone helped with this meal and brought it to a boil. I think it made the milk and cheese curdle or burn to the bottom of the pot. Whatever.. Ma had her reasons :)

Add tuna (with the juice in the can) and bread crumbs then do a final folding of everything. Back in the 60's I don't think we had a spring water option so it was probably packed in oil. Either way (oil or water) would work fine. I would guess oil adds more flavor. Today I would try smoked oysters and a white cheese alternative but don't think that would go over well with the kids.

Remove from heat.
Cover and let stand 5-10 minutes and serve.

This simple spin-off of mac and cheese was a hit for us kids! My favorite memory eating this was being lucky to get the biggest chunk of tuna. Selective picking tuna with the serving spoon was not permitted and was usually met with the spoon itself across the knuckles. Just kidding...

Sometimes Mom would replace the tuna with cut-up hot dogs. Still better than plain old mac and cheese but never came close to tuna.
Simple and nourishing makes this family favorite "Great". Hope you enjoy!


  1. Hi,
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    To check it out:

    Hope you like it!

  2. I love the stories that come with great recipes. Food can conjure up many good memories. I've never made mac 'n cheese with tuna, but I guess the biggest chunk of tuna would be a nice prize! Love your blog!

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  4. Great post. I love any recipe with Tuna. My mom has been running a healthy cooking blog for some time and it amazes me we can survive off of low cost healthy cooking. It is using fill foods like potatoes and greens that keep us full.



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