My signature Pasta Family Recipe

I grew up on Italian food. My mom has always loved it, so she always prepared some sort of Italian dish at least once a week. Because there was such a strong presence of Italian Americans growing up in Long Island, I was surrounded by neighbors and friends who shared their family recipes with us. My Mom would take their recipes, and sometimes add her own little flair to them. It was only natural that when I got older and started my own family that I would adopt the same practices as well. I absolutely love Italian food, and if I don’t have at least one Italian dish per week I am bound to be in a foul mood.

In the spirit of traditional Italian family dinners, Carrabba’s is now kicking off its Signature Pasta Meals, featuring seven distinctive dishes served with choice of soup or fresh salad starting at $10. Carrabba’s makes every pasta dish by hand with the freshest ingredients. Pasta is cooked perfectly every time and signature sauces are made from scratch daily. Carrabba’s has even created a Pasta Personality Quiz on Facebook to see how your personality compares to some of Carrabba’s signature dishes. According to the quiz, my Pasta Personality is Carrabba’s Tag Pic Pac, a classic with a tasty twist, perfect for someone who likes to put their own twist on things! The dish features Tagliarini pasta with Picchi Pacchiu sauce. Hop on over to take the quiz and see you’re your pasta personality is: http://www.facebook.com/Carrabbas?sk=app_142632109083371

Most people think of Italian food and automatically think of spaghethttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifti and meatballs. But there are tons of things you can do to spice up a regular marinara sauce. In fact, in some regions of Italy, traditional Italian cooking does not include the sauces that we are accustomed to here in the US. And since I am known for venturing off the beaten path a bitt, here is one of the recipes my mom created for me when I was a little girl:

Pancetta and Garlic pasta


2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 pkg (16 oz.) Pancetta or thick sliced bacon cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 16 oz. can pureed tomatoes
16 oz (1 box) cooked angel hair pasta
Black pepper
Grated parmesan cheese for garnish (if desired)

On a cutting board slice the pancetta or bacon into 1 ½ inch chunks. Fry the pieces in a large sauté pan with a dash of olive oil. Once the pancetta is done, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate to cool. Do not remove oil from the pan.

Sauté the garlic in the remaining oil until almost brown, adding more olive oil if needed. Add one can of pureed tomatoes along with oregano, basil, black pepper, and cooked pancetta. Simmer on low for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

Serve over angel hair pasta, and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese if desired.

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Carrabba’s blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here

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