Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Cooking Column: A new family recipe for pasta


A few years ago, my grandmother wanted to get all her children together for Christmas, as it’s hard to get my mom’s brothers and sister all in the same place. There’s five kids in total, scattered along the east coast and Midwest from Georgia to Maine to Chicago. But my grandmother wanted them all here in Alabama for one week, so she sent out invitations. 

Aunt Karen and Uncle Thomas always come down, and my mother lives here, so that was three kids with an RSVP. It was Uncle Charlie and Uncle Michael’s attendance that was in question. In the end only Uncle Charlie said he could come and the family gathered at my grandparent’s apartment, one kid short. 

On Christmas Eve, my grandmother and my sister had to make a run to Publix to grab that year’s forgotten food item. On the way out of the neighborhood, they passed two people walking on the side of the road, a six pack of beer in hand. 

“Who are those crazy people?” My grandmother thought. But she let it go, got her items from the store and came on home. When she walked through the door, she nearly dropped her groceries. 

Turns out “those crazy people” were Uncle Michael and his wife. They’d been able to make it after all and decided to surprise everyone. They’d booked a hotel and decided to walk on over to my grandmother’s house from there. 

It seems to be how Uncle Michael likes to make appearances. My grandfather has been in the hospital for the past few weeks and various family members have been calling to check up on him. Uncle Michael decided to book a plane ticket and fly down, telling only my Aunt Karen.

One of the best part of his surprise visits, though, is his cooking. His wife is a vegetarian and loves to cook, so Uncle Michael has learned a few things over the years. It’s one of the many reasons I was sad I wasn’t able to go home and visit while he was here. 

I did, however, get to eat the leftovers – the last serving of my new favorite pasta dish. I asked my aunt if she had the recipe. She didn’t, but apparently I wasn’t the only one who wanted it. So after a few days of patience, I was handed a piece of paper with a recipe written in my grandmother’s handwriting. 

Like many family recipes, it was missing a few things. Was I supposed to add the vegetables in step one or step two? It said add veggies on both. And how long was I supposed to cook all this for? That was nowhere on there. Luckily the recipe was very simple so it wasn’t hard to figure out on my own. I made a couple adjustments mid-cooking, kept an eye on the pan, and it turned out almost perfect. 

I think my favorite part about making this was going into it knowing it would reheat well and that it would only take one pan. Because that’s all this recipe really is – adding ingredients to a pan one by one until it’s ready to go, eating your fill and saving the rest for later. That’s best kind of recipe in my opinion. 

What you’ll need 

½  bag of frozen meatballs

⅓ cup of water

1 bag of mixed frozen vegetables

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1 jar of gravy 

½ box of pasta

How to make it 

  1. Cook the meat on the stove in a saute pan over medium heat, covered, with ⅓ cup of water for seven minutes.
  2. Add vegetables and oil, stir, cover and cook for three minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Add gravy, mix, stir and cook for 3 more minutes. 
  4. Add pasta and cook for 14 minutes, or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Let cool and enjoy. 
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