Alice Orr is the author of thirteen novels, two novellas, a memoir, and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. She’s a former book editor and literary agent, now living her dream as a full-time writer of romantic suspense stories. Learn more about Alice and her books at her website.
Angela’s Pasta ala Capri in Her Own Words
From the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series
Gus Kalli and I met on a spring evening outside a cooking class I was taking at North Country Community College and discovered that the only thing we wanted to study was each other. Over three decades and four handsome sons later – we are still together.
In the beginning I’d thought I needed a vacation but the tour guide for my getaway turned out to be the night school brochure that led me to Gus and the most wondrous time of my life. Being with him was the best vacation I could ever have imagined and it has continued ever since.
I was born and raised in Riverton, New York where everybody grows up in everybody else’s pocket. I always loved that about this town – feeling surrounded by the warmth and sharing of a close community. But when I met Gus I found out how fabulous it feels to start fresh with someone as if I’d been newborn in that moment with only the two of us in our own universe.
We each had our own interests within that universe of course. I loved to cook. The magic of putting ingredients together in a delicious combination was almost as extraordinary as the magic Gus and I made with each other. Gus loved to build things or to rebuild them into something better and he was very good at both.
Before Gus founded Kalli Contracting Company and built our house on Riverton Road we dreamed about packing up our little son Matthew and travelling to Europe for a year or two. I especially wanted to study the cooking there. I even entertained the fantasy of opening a restaurant when we returned home.
Meanwhile as I cooked and we fell even deeper in love, Gus was becoming known around the county for the quality of his work. His talent attracted a pair of investors and the offer was too good for a young couple to refuse. We said yes to those investment partners and never looked back. Well maybe I looked back on occasion but there was no longer much time for fantasies or for regrets, either.
Gus and I were busy working hard and adoring each other and our darling baby. The kitchen was the heart of our house-in-progress on Riverton Road at the junction that came to be called Kalli Corner. I still cooked and had begun inventing recipes or re-inventing them. The reputation of Kalli Contracting grew, and Gus’s financial partners prodded him to expand into high-end condo construction, even though renovating houses for ordinary families was what he loved best.
That was about the time I received a special postcard from my younger sister Merilee. The card was from Capri where she and her son Sam had gone on an Italian holiday. The image of blue sea and bright flowers and wild rock formations made my heart yearn. I couldn’t help thinking how much Gus and Matt and I would enjoy experiencing that scene in real life. I didn’t share those feelings with Gus because I didn’t want him yearning too.
“So let’s experience the food instead,” I said to myself.
That’s how Angela’s Pasta ala Capri came to be, traditional Caprese style cooking with my own variations. When Gus came home that night, I greeted him with a kiss.
“Let’s have some pasta for an emotional lift,” I said. And we did.
Angela’s Pasta ala Capri
1 pound penne pasta
1-1/2 cups red pasta sauce (see my previous recipe)
1/2 cup half and half.
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese.
1/8 tsp. allspice
sprinkles of cayenne pepper and hand-zested lemon peel
salt and pepper to taste
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise and maybe halved again
8 ounces mozarella, cubed fairly small
2 tsps. dried basil (If using fresh basil, select small sweet leaves and not too many of them. You don’t want the strong flavor of basil to overpower the rest.)
1 tsp. dried parsley. (Again you can use snips of fresh parsley if you prefer.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cook the pasta as the package directs, no longer than al dente.
Heat the sauce in a skillet over lowish heat. Stir in the half and half. Add parmesan, allspice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes until the parmesan melts and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the grape tomatoes, mozarella, basil and parsley.
Add this cream sauce to the cooked pasta and fold in well.
Pour the pasta and cream sauce mix into an oiled 13” x 9” baking dish. Top with dots of butter. (I prefer low cholesterol spread for heart health.) Sprinkle with seasoned bread crumbs and grated parmesan plus some paprika for color.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or so until the cheese is melted.
Serve with green salad and good bread, meaning either you bake it or a bakery does.
A Year of Summer Shadows by Alice Orr
Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 2
The town she loves is filled with deadly secrets.
Hailey Lambert loves the North Country even though she doesn’t love some of her North Country memories. Mark Kalli has wanted Hailey in his bed for a long time but she won’t give him the time of day. Now she’s mixed up in the murder of Finley Yates. Mark has no choice but to get involved with the killing and with Hailey – whether she wants him or not.
A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2 in the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series set in remote Riverton, New York. Angela and Gus head the Kalli family. Each of their four gorgeous sons has his own story. Book 2 is Mark and Hailey’s story. A Wrong Way Home was Book 1, Matt and Kara’s story.