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Simple spaghetti dish satisfies hearty appetites

Thursday, August 02, 2001

By Nancy Anderson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Today's Countdown recipe for Spaghetti Aglio e Olio was Brittany Bickert's entry in the Pillsbury Kids' Bake Off in 1998.


"She was excited just being in it," said mom Rene, "even though she didn't win."

This easy, flavorful spaghetti dish is on the table in 20 minutes. You can be creative and dress it up with fresh herbs and veggies from the garden or eat as is.

We kept the garlic and oil dish simple, as Rene recommended, and served fresh green beans and sliced tomatoes on the side.

The recipe came from Brittany's grandfather, Vincent Ricupero, 73, of Verona. He works in the sheriff's office and loves to cook.

Rene, husband Leo (he works at the Beaver County Times) and children Brittany, 14, Matthew, 12, and Corey, 7, now live with him.

"We had our own home for 13 years," she said, "but he has a big house and asked us to move in with him -- so we did."

Dad lends a hand in the kitchen at crunch times.

"I rush home from work [she's an administrative assistant at Highmark] and my dad helps me out," she said.

"I cook for seven because my father-in law comes almost every day for dinner since his wife died. We all sit down together at 5:30 p.m."

They all like to vacation together, too. Their most recent outing was to Ocean City, Md., where they soaked up the sun. No cooking for Rene that week.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com Questions? Call 412-263-1760.


1 pound spaghetti
2 whole cloves garlic, minced, fresh is preferred
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley for garnish
Grated Romano cheese, to taste

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

In a heavy pan, heat olive oil and garlic on low heat and saute for about 7 minutes. Add drained spaghetti, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. If you want, add cooked broccoli, fresh tomatoes, peas, shrimp, scallops or whatever you prefer. We just have it plain. Serve on a large plate and sprinkle with Romano cheese and fresh parsley.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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