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Culinary SOS . . . Recipe for Mario's Spaghetti Sauce

Rancho Mirage Restaurant Shares Secret; Serve It Over the Pasta of Your Choice

November 07, 1985|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: We had dinner at Mario's Restaurant in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and the spaghetti tomato sauce was marvelously delicate and delicious. Is it possible to get the recipe?


Dear Jane: Mario's was happy to share its recipe, which you can serve over the pasta of your choice. We chose hearty rigatoni.



3/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 (29-ounce) can plum tomatoes, with liquid

4 fresh basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound macaroni, spaghetti or other desired pasta, cooked

Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery and saute until golden, not brown. Chop tomatoes and add, with liquid, to vegetable mixture in pan. Add basil leaves, salt, pepper and sugar. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Strain sauce through food mill or ricer. Return to pan. Add butter. Simmer 10 minutes until butter melts. Serve over pasta. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Dear SOS: My friend has baked Clifton's Pumpkin Cake at Thanksgiving for years, but she has now misplaced the recipe. It's a terrific cake, and she'd like to have the recipe again.


Dear Maria: Your friend and dozens of other readers will love you.


3 cups sugar

3 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon soda

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups oil

3 1/4 cups canned pumpkin

4 eggs, slightly beaten

Cream Cheese Frosting (see following recipe)

Blend together sugar, flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt in mixer at medium speed until well mixed. Add oil and continue to beat until dry ingredients are moistened. Add pumpkin and mix again until well blended. Add slightly beaten eggs and blend 1 minute longer. Do not overmix.

Turn batter into 3 lightly greased, paper-lined 9-inch cake pans. Smooth batter out in pans with spatula so cake will be level when baked. Bake at 325 degrees 40 minutes or until done. Cool on racks, then turn out and fill and frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. Makes 1 (3-layer) cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pound powdered sugar

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup chopped raisins

Combine sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and butter. Mix until blended. Add raisins and mix until blended. Refrigerate until needed. Make sure cake is cool before frosting it.

Dear SOS: I would like to request the recipe for Paul Lynde's Beef Stew.

--MRS. J.A.T.

Dear Mrs. J.A.T.: Certainly. This great slow cooking shelf stew from the late comedian has been one of our longtime reader favorites. It was printed in our "The Los Angeles Times California Cookbook" (Abrams, $25; $9.95 paperback).


2 pounds beef stew meat, cut in 1-inch cubes

1 (1-pound) can diced carrots, drained

1 (1-pound) can small whole onions, drained

1 (1-pound) can whole tomatoes

1 (1-pound) can peas, drained

1 (1-pound) can cut green beans, drained

1 (1-pound) can small whole potatoes, drained

1/2 can beef consomme

1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup dry white wine

Salt, pepper

Combine meat, carrots, onions, tomatoes, peas, green beans, potatoes, consomme, tapioca, brown sugar, bread crumbs, bay leaf and wine in large casserole. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and bake at 250 degrees 6 to 7 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Dear SOS: I am a cook for a food service company, and a few years ago you printed a corn bread recipe mixing cake mix with corn bread to make a high volume, sweet-flavored bread. I lost my recipe for this delicious corn bread.


Dear Trudy: We developed this recipe after a reader gave us a clue about the use of mixes for a sweet corn bread found at a popular Los Angeles family restaurant.


1 (18.5-ounce) package yellow cake mix

1 (15-ounce) package corn bread mix

Mix cake and corn bread batters according to package directions. Blend together and turn into 2 greased 9-inch-square baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees 30 to 35 minutes or until corn bread springs back when lightly touched. Makes about 32 servings.

Dear SOS: Several years ago you printed a recipe for Chicken Dijonnaise, and I have since lost the recipe. Would you please help?


Dear A.H.S.: Of course. The recipe is originally from the Egg and the Eye in Los Angeles.


2 whole chicken breasts

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Dash rosemary

Dash thyme

Dash tarragon

Salt, pepper

Bone, skin and split chicken breasts, then flatten into cutlets. Saute chicken in 2 tablespoons butter until cooked on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in skillet. Add onion and cook until tender. Add wine and mustard and simmer until mixture is reduced by half. Add whipping cream and simmer until sauce is thick enough to coat spoon. Strain, then add rosemary, thyme and tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over chicken breasts. Makes 4 servings.

Only recipes of general interest will be printed. We are unable to answer all requests. Please include restaurant address when requesting recipes from restaurants. Send your letter with self-addressed, stamped envelope to Culinary SOS, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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