Nathan Laudermilk began cooking and helping in the kitchen when he was just three years old. Now, this 11 year old, who is in the sixth grade, loves to cook. He lives with his parents, Jaime and Brett and brother, Ivan, in Olathe.
Q: When did you start cooking and what do you like to cook?
I have always liked to cook and even remember helping make chocolate chip cookies when I was three. Now, it is fun to help make dinner. This mostaccioli is one of my favorite dishes to cook.
Macaroni and cheese and breakfast sandwiches are great to make. It is especially fun to cook foods that we like to eat, so chili and pizza are next on my list of foods to learn to cook.
For Christmas, I helped my mom bake cookies like gingersnaps and chocolate crinkle cookies. My brother and I received special monogrammed aprons for Christmas and it is fun to wear them when we cook.
Q: How are you learning to cook?
Helping out in the kitchen is the best way to learn to cook. It is fun and really helpful to watch cooking shows on television, especially the cooking contests and shows that feature kids cooking.
Q: What else do you like to do?
My favorite subject at school is science, and I enjoy playing baseball and the trumpet. I am a Boy Scout and am looking forward to learning to cook outside on a fire.
It makes me feel good to help people and serve others, so recently I volunteered at Cross-lines, an organization that helps people who are less fortunate.
Q: Do you like to taste different foods?
Yes. I just tasted oysters and really liked them. Everyone should try a variety of new foods.
Q: What do you enjoy about cooking?
It is fun, especially when cooking for my family. It is a good way to learn skills for the future and it helps me in school since it involves reading a recipe and practicing math and science.
Other kids who are my age should learn to cook as it is important, and it is a skill they will need to use all of their lives.
Q: Where did you get the mostaccioli recipe?
I found it online. We made it a few times, then changed it a little so my family likes it even more. We especially like the sausage in it and we like the sauce in this recipe a lot more than the jars of sauce we used to buy. It is great if there is any leftover because it still tastes good the next day.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
2 teaspoons canola oil
½ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
1 pound bulk pork sausage
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound mostaccioli or penne pasta
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and red pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the pork sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until the sausage is crumbly and browned, about 10 minutes. Drain off excess fat.
Stir in the crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the sauce has reached your desired consistency.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the mostaccioli or penne pasta, and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, then toss with the red sauce and the mozzarella. Stir until the cheese is melted.
Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore are cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. They have published over twelve cookbooks and thousands of recipes. They are members of Les Dames d’Escoffier and blog at pluggedintocooking.com. Email them at KCComeIntoMyKitchen@gmail.com.