Marian (Olander) Tuteras mantra is Mangia! Mangia! Mangia!
By MARY G. PEPITONE
Special to The Star
Even though shes of Swedish descent, Italian cooking is in her blood.
After marrying into husband Joes extended famiglia 23 years ago, Marian appreciates the art of cooking for their children: Laura, 20; Hannah, 19; Dominic, 16; and JoJo, 12.
Joe also appreciates Marians art of making food look as good as it tastes.
I embrace Marians eclectic style, he says. And when my family gathers to eat, nobody goes home hungry.
Residence: Mission Hills
Occupation: Homemaker, former retail fashion coordinator
Special cooking interest: Making vibrant, colorful foods
I can almost imagine basking under the Tuscan sun in your kitchen. What inspired this space? Everything inspires me, and I see the world in color. It took five years to build our home, and my Tuscan farmhouse style with a simple, casual appeal is especially reflected in our kitchen area.
The kitchen really is the center of our home, and it opens up into an outdoor seating area so you can dine al fresco when the weather is nice not covered in snow! The octagon tiles in our kitchen floor are repurposed from an old wine cellar and have stains that show where bottles had been stored for years.
The style in my kitchen really reflects my cooking style, which is non-fussy and family-oriented. I also want the food to be beautifully presented because I believe you eat with your eyes first.
How did you develop your cooking style? My mother, Martha Sue Olander, told me if you can read, you can cook. So thats how I started cooking, by reading recipes and following directions. It wasnt until I got married and watched my sister-in-law, Connie Mendolia, in the kitchen that I became inspired to really begin to cook and make food by feel to our familys taste.
We take trips with our extended family all 19 of us and we are planning a trip to Europe this summer. I love Italy the people, the food, the colors of the countryside all inspire me. Weve taken cooking classes in Italy, and the secret to good Italian food is to start with flavorful ingredients and let those simple flavors shine through.
Do food and fun just go together for you? We can not have a gathering that doesnt include food. Even though my oldest two are off at college, we still try to eat family dinner together most nights. I like putting together simple foods like melon with prosciutto, bruschetta, or Caprese salad with mozzarella and fresh tomatoes with basil when the weather is warm. But right now, when its cold, I make dishes like chicken noodle soup or chicken Parmesan.
Do you use this marinara sauce recipe when you make dishes like chicken Parmesan? Thats why Im sharing this recipe because it has so many uses. You can serve it over pasta or ravioli, or use it when making chicken or lasagna. This marinara has become my signature dish, with some borrowed inspiration from Giada De Laurentiis. I like it a little chunky, and it always tastes better the second day. And, I usually double this recipe to serve 16 people.
My outlook on life is the same as my attitude toward cooking: Im not fussy, but I want what I do to exude warmth and comfort. When it comes down to it: Im a glass-is-half-full kind of gal.
Makes 8 servings
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 celery stalks with leaves, cleaned and finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (28-ounce) cans whole Italian tomatoes, drained of liquid
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in heavy puree
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 bay leaves
In a large Dutch oven, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to pot and sauté until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add celery and carrots, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add tomatoes, breaking up whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Season with sugar and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, up to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove bay leaves before serving sauce over cooked pasta of choice.
Note: Add optional 1 pound of browned Italian sausage to sauce after seasoning with bay leaves.
Per serving: 222 calories (53 percent from fat), 14 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 24 grams carbohydrates, no protein, 512 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.
Mary G. Pepitone is a freelance writer who lives in Leawood. She also writes a nationally syndicated home column. Email her at email@example.com to nominate a cook.