What is that wonderful smell?


Ah the smell of home made cooking. To me that’s one of the best things in the world. To create a masterpiece in your kitchen, to smell, see, taste and share what you created is a wonderful thing. Perhaps it’s an old recipe that a family member once made. When that happens you add a whole other dimension to your cooking. I’ll explain what I mean by sharing my recent experience.

So sit down relax and make yourself at home. Maybe even enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Over the holidays I was sharing with my mom about wanting to get out some old recipes from the garage that my Noni had. My Noni was a wonderful woman, she was a strong Italian woman with a lot of heart, she also had an amazing sense of humor. I was raised quite a bit by her, my mom had a full time job, college and three kids. I got to spend a lot of time at my Noni’s. I loved it there. I felt so safe, loved and comfortable at my Noni’s house. Boy did I love her cooking, you could smell her pasta sauce lingering throughout the whole house. It was intoxicating, something I fell in love with at first smell. There was just something about it that made me feel good, warm, safe and loved. I’ve really missed that smell and her cooking. My Noni passed away about ten years ago. She was born June, 13th 1921 and she passed on September 18th 2003. She lived to eighty three, quite a full life. I was there when she passed, it was really hard for me. She shed one tear when she left this world. I believe it was because she loved life and family so very much. It was the saddest but also the most beautiful thing I’d ever witnessed. You may be asking yourself why beautiful? Well by that time in her life she had Alzheimer’s and was very sad. I knew that she would get to see her parents and family again and start her life anew. She would be free of pain and that made me happy in my heart. She made quite the impression on me. I felt like I lost my best friend and one of the people I was closest to in this world. I also happen to be named after her, quite an honor.

My mom found a ton of recipes in the garage. So many to look through, we spent hours looking through old photos and great great grand parents and so on. Well I was able to take a few pics of some recipes on my phone. We had a great time bonding that night. We made a plan to really take some time out together and go through and find her recipes and try some out together. I didn’t find the sauce recipe that night but what I did find was a sauce recipe from my family’s cookbook. The Valenti family cookbook. A collection of wonderful Italian recipes from my family tree. They have a Valenti Open where they all get together and celebrate and have wonderful food. I would love to go one of these days with my mom. Here is the website for recipes and to learn more: http://www.valentiopen.com/

My husband got me a food processor for Christmas and that was really helpful and made the prep work go super fast. I absolutley love it. This is the one I got: Hamilton Beach

I went and bought all of my ingredients and got started. I will just paste the recipe here from the Valenti link.

(Rose Palazzi)

Another famous version of the tomato sauce recipe for a spaghetti dinner – from the kitchen of Rose Palazzi. Outstanding!

Servings: 4 to 5 servings

Sauté one pound (whole) sausages (hot or sweet Italian sausage) in a covered pot for approximately 30 minutes. No oil is needed, just use the natural juices of the sausages.

Add 1 to 2 cloves crushed garlic and one diced onion to pot. Sauté for a few minutes and when soft, add 2 large cans (28 oz. each) of crushed tomatoes

(Rose recommends Tuttorusso brand!) and one small paste. Add one can of water (from paste can).

Add salt, pepper, Italian seasonings and a touch of red pepper flakes. Simmer for several hours.


You can use more or less garlic and seasonings, it’s just a personal choice.

I made it my own by adding more garlic, about 5 or 6 cloves and I added mushrooms.

The pictures aren’t great because I used my phone and it was at night, but at least you get a little visual.



I have also started eating healthier so I like to use fresh zucchini noodles in the place of real pasta. I love it! My mom got me a Zucchini and vegetable spiraler for Christmas and it’s so much easier with this handy kitchen tool. This is the one she got me: Paderno World Cuisine

I’m gathering my ingredients and my husband walks in and wants to help me by trying out the new food processor. He loved it too, it made food prep actually fun:) Who knew how fun it could be. Once I had all my ingredients in the big pot on the stove just like my Noni used to do. I noticed It didn’t specify the amount of salt. I was trying to decide how much when right there and then I was moved to use the palm of my hand to measure it out just like my great grandfather once did. Then the smell hit me like a flashback and I was transported to another time. A time when family would gather round and share and laugh for hours and hours like there was nowhere else to be but with family. It Was an incredible feeling. I felt like I had my whole Italian family right there in the kitchen with me, my Noni was there too. I could almost here the tinkling of wine glasses and see smiles upon smiles gathered around beautiful food and family. It felt very special, like a link to all my family and they’re family. So even though I couldn’t find the exact recipe from my Noni, it didn’t matter because it was exactly what I was looking for. A way to connect with my family and my roots again. The best comforting home made meal that I really needed. The kind that takes you back… Thank you for the recipe Rose Palazzi!

My Noni was a wonderful woman and she taught me about life, love and family. She was my role model and I looked up to her. Who was your role model? Anyone else have an experience similar to mine?

I would love to hear from you and any comments or stories that you have are more than welcome.

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See you all next time,