Cooks’ Exchange: A Favorite Italian Spaghetti Recipe for Father’s Day | Recipes, meals and cooking tips – Low Calorie Diets Tips

Father’s Day comes with memories that warm the soul. When my father, Michele Roberto Tripolino, came to Madison from Sicily in 1921, he settled with his parents, Salvatore and Caterina, in the old neighborhood of Greenbush. He attended St. Joseph’s School, and when he enrolled at Central High his last name was spelled differently in order to be accepted.

Despite being small, Mike Tripalin became a standout athlete and was described as one of the top three halfbacks in America by local sportswriter “Roundy” Coughlin, who compared him to “Red” Grange, with predictions that Knute Rockne would make him a star . After spending a year on the UW football team and being told he was too short for the conference, he received a scholarship to play for Jefferson College in Louisiana and traveled there by riding in a railroad boxcar rode to become one of the Four Horsemen of the South.

When Daddy’s goal of becoming a teacher and coach was interrupted by the Great Depression, he returned home, was hired by Oscar Mayer, and spent 42 years climbing the beef trade and enjoying the camaraderie, with the Mayer family and locals and aliens to work together. Town butcher before retirement. He loved people, was blessed with an uplifting attitude, avoided talking about others, and appreciated the many gifts in life, with family being the most important. He was an exceptional father, backyard gardener, active in local town and sporting events, fished from his cottage up north, belonged to St. Bernard’s Church, enjoyed being an active lifelong member of the East Side Businessmen’s Association, was the caller of ” hamburgers”. ‘ during the club’s annual festivals and became its first Italian president in 1960.

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My Hungarian born mother had no idea about Italian food. Her first spaghetti dinner for Daddy was ketchup on macaroni, which prompted him to introduce her to an English-speaking Sicilian couple who taught her how to make a sauce that became a winner in the Italian Workmen’s Club’s annual sauce-tasting competition, which ours all time remains favourite.

Mike’s favorite spaghetti sauce and meatballs

1 or 2 garlic cloves, sliced

Very little olive oil and butter

29 ounce can whole Italian tomatoes, undrained

16 ounce can whole Italian tomatoes, undrained

2 6-ounce cans of tomato paste, washed down with a little water

1 tablespoon or less salt

Fresh basil or ¼-½ teaspoon dried basil

Sprinkle of dried oregano, optional

1-2 slices of white bread, derinded

¼ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional

1-2 teaspoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Sprinkle of dried oregano or basil or combined

Sweat the onion and garlic in a little olive oil and butter. Remove from kettle and store or discard. Soak crustless white bread in cold water for a few seconds, then squeeze dry and squeeze tiny pieces into a bowl of meat. Add remaining meatball ingredients except flour. Mix the ingredients with your hands, make 1½ inch meatballs and roll each ball in flour, bobbing in your hand to leave just a light coating of flour. Fry on both sides in the same cauldron with oil and butter, sauté the onions and garlic.

When browned, add the sauce ingredients to the same cauldron, starting with undrained tomatoes, using a wooden spoon, press through a large sieve placed over the cauldron, also scraping off the pulp from under the sieve. When the tomato paste is dry in the strainer, discard it. Add the tomato paste and spices to the sauce, stir, cover and simmer for no longer than 2 hours, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Italian coleslaw from the DePaola family

As I continue to search for a creamy Italian coleslaw recipe, here are a few salad recipes from longtime readers and friends Penny and Ross DePaola and Sherie and Steve Sasso that remind me of how Daddy made salads every night by wiping the inside of the salad bowl with them a slice of raw garlic before adding the rest of the ingredients.

½ medium green or red cabbage, cored and very thinly sliced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Sasso’s Italian Coleslaw

This is a favorite coleslaw recipe of Sherie and Steve Sasso, who claim it gets even better the next day.

1 whole cabbage, shredded

3 tablespoons of granulated sugar

In a saucepan, bring olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar, garlic, basil, salt and pepper to a boil. Cook for 30 seconds and remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly. Pour the warm dressing over the cabbage and toss. Let stand until the salad has cooled. Once cool, cover and place in the fridge to chill. When ready to serve, stir to mix the cabbage.

Facia Vecchia

While browsing through old favorites in my scrapbooks, I discovered a handwritten recipe shared long ago by Conchera Capadona Pullara, a former Greenbush resident, who taught me how to make it on December 1st and brought it to Daddy, to celebrate his 85th birthday.

“Thaw frozen dough and let it rise. Make sure it’s oiled. resurrection. Oil a pizza pan. Press in with oiled fingers to poke around the edges. This pizza doesn’t need a ridge. Sprinkle with raw chopped onion. Press the anchovies into the batter. Press sausages into batter if using. Open a 16-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes. Take about ¾ of the tomatoes, squeeze the juice over the batter, and then shred the tomatoes to cover them here and there. Sprinkle with oregano and grated Parmesan Romano cheese. Press fingers into the dough. Then more oregano and cheese. Let this rise for about 15 or 20 minutes. Then bake in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. Watch!”

Contact Cooks’ Exchange at the hands of the Wisconsin State Journal, PO Box 8058, Madison, WI, 53708 or by email at

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