I learned how to make pasta sauce from an Italian mother…

…and my life is better because of it.

In 1998 I spent ten weeks living with a family in Dossobuono, Italy. As a 22 year old going to a college in a small town in Minnesota I remember being thrilled at the prospect of going abroad for the first time. My college town was fine, Minnesota is great, but I was ready to do other things. I was a senior in college. I didn’t know much. Though, to my credit, I knew I wanted to do this.

I learned a lot in those ten weeks. I learned some Italian. I learned a lot about myself. I learned to appreciate traveling. I learned friendships do not require to have a language in-common. I learned how to make pasta sauce.

I remember writing a letter home and mentioning “every lunch is like Thanksgiving, each dinner is like Christmas.” I was very well-fed.

One of the most simple, and satisfying, meals my host mother would make had just a few ingredients.

Olive oil. Garlic. Onion. Salt. Tomatoes. A meat, maybe it was pancetta, though I now substitute Canadian bacon. She would cook this down for an hour, or so. Add it to pasta dress with cheese and oil and serve.

After ten weeks I came home. I was still a senior in college. I knew a little bit more about life. Ultimately, however, coming home with this recipe and the confidence to make it may have gone a great distance in wooing the woman I was dating…and later married.

I owe a lot to the ten weeks I spent living with a great family in Dossobuono, Italy.

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not a complicated recipe
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garlic
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I add a large can of crushed tomatoes and a smaller can of diced tomatoes.
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Before I went to Italy I had never heard of Barilla. Barilla is the brand my Italian host mother uses, hence, Barilla is the brand I use. Though if she, her husband, her son, or her daughter-in-law read this they will mention I shouldn’t be using mostaccioli.
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let simmer for a while, the longer the better. In a pinch it only needs 30 minutes.

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my host mother taught me to cook, my host father taught me to appreciate spicy pepper oil. Pepperoncini in olive oil. This batch is a few years old.

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