Italian feast based on family recipe from 1900

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Apr 13, 2011 - 05:46 PM

Photo: Carol McCormack makes meatballs by her grandmother’s recipe which the family has used for years.

Carol McCormack makes meatballs by her grandmother’s recipe which the family has used for years.

A recipe that was brought to this country in 1900 will be the basis for the upcoming Knights of Columbus Italian Feast.

The family recipe for meatballs was among the personal belongings of Carol McCormack’s grandmother, Rose Varlotta, who was only ten years old when her family left Basilicata, Italy, for America.

It is this recipe that is strictly followed, exactly as written those many years ago. It is the one that will sate everyone’s palate as they dine on a true Italian meal, including wine, at the Church of Visitation in Middlesex on Saturday. "My grandmother’s family’s destination was Brooklyn, New York. Our family grew up in New Jersey. Most of our families were in New Jersey or New York. We were always having family gatherings and eating. Cooking and eating were a big part of our family life," Carol said.

Her spouse, John McCormack, is serving as chairman of the feast. He buys all the meat, and as you will read, there are three types of meat in these meatballs. "There are four or five people who make the meatballs. We get our veal from Best Value and he even grinds it for us. Then with the recipe attached, with no variations whatsoever, we package all of the ingredients and the meatballs are made by them." That’s a lot of meatballs, as John is preparing for 220 diners. "It takes three days to prepare this dinner. Everything is fresh. Even the cheese we use is not pre-shredded, we shred it ourselves. About three of us cook the sauce at the church and then those who have made the meatballs bring them over and we add them in. It’s a joint effort by both the men and women."