money tree 974x1024 Money Does Grow On Trees

My Uncle Joe was around seven years old when he moved from Italy to Boston. Growing up he heard that in the US money grows on trees. One day while staying at Uncle Rocco’s house it occurred to him to try it out.

He had only been in the US a few weeks. He opened a jar of pennies that our Uncle Resco had saved and began dumping them onto the backyard.

When Uncle Rocco asked him what he was doing, he said he was getting things started by planting the money.

Fast-forward 60 years. Joe Pace is a successful businessman.

Money may not literally grow on trees here, but the United States has created many opportunities for many people like my Uncle Joe.

Paulis father Papa Ed Felix Martignetti and Uncle Joe circa 1968 3 1024x795 Money Does Grow On Trees














Welcome to Mama’s corner! Here we plan to share classic Italian recipes, nostalgic stories, family antics, opinions, company updates and more. Pauli’s mother, Maria, will be a regular contributor…hence Mama’s corner. Paulis Mother music small4 199x300 Numero Uno“Mama was born in Orsogna, Italy in 1939. She grew up in a small rural town. While my grandparents worked the family farm, my great grandmother taught Mama traditional Italian dishes including homemade pasta, sauces, and desserts. In 1953, during the height of Italian immigration, my grandparents moved to the US in search of better opportunities. Mama grew up in the suburbs of Boston. Eventually she got married, and raised a family (including of course, yours truly)! True to Italian culture, food brought friends and family together, and Mama always took great care in preparing and serving each and every course. In 1986, Mama accomplished her lifelong dream of opening a restaurant. Nicole’s quickly became a crowd favorite in the North End and Boston started experiencing what meals were always like in our house. These days, Mama is retired and is working on her cookbook and helping me at Pauli’s.” –Pauli For our first post, we’d like to share one of our oldest family recipes: spaghetti and meatballs

Spaghetti and MeatballsMakes 4 servingsIngredientsFor the Sauce:

  • Two 35-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, (preferably San Marzano) with their liquid
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


For the Meatballs:

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 pound spaghetti
2/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese


  1. Pass the tomatoes and their liquid through a blender fitted with the fine disc. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a 4- to 5-quart pot over medium high heat. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, crumble the pork and beef into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the bread crumbs, 1/3 cup grated cheese, the parsley, and garlic over the meat. Beat the egg with 1 and 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl until blended. Pour over the meat mixture. Mix the ingredients just until evenly blended. Shape the meat mixture into 2-inch balls.
  3. Heat 1/4-cup olive oil and the vegetable oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Slip as many meatballs into the skillet as will fit without crowding. Fry, turning as necessary, until golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Adjust the heat as the meatballs cook to prevent them from over browning. Remove the meatballs, and repeat if necessary with the remaining meatballs.
  4. Add the browned meatballs to the tomato sauce and cook, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, until no trace of pink remains at the center of the meatballs, about 30 minutes.
  5. Stir the spaghetti into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, about 8 minutes.
  6. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Spoon in about 2 cups of the tomato sauce, tossing well until the pasta is coated with sauce. Remove from the heat and toss in 2/3 cup grated cheese. Check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve the pasta in a bowl and spoon a little more of the sauce over the pasta along with the meatballs.



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