Last week we had the wonderful opportunity of having Rosco from Sam and Rosco’s Restaurant here in Douglasville to be a guest speaker in my classes. I am not exaggerating at all when I tell you that I had more administrators, teachers, and students than ever before stopping by my room to see what was being prepared. The aroma of garlic, peppers, and onions was everywhere. You can just imagine how the best Italian restaurant smells when you walk in and that’s what was permeating the entire back hall. It was amazingly good. My students were in awe of Rosco’s expertise in cooking and his life story of how he ended up in the restaurant business. He came here from the Northern part of Iran and graduated from Southern Tech as an engineer. In college he worked at many great restaurants in Atlanta such as Pano and Paul’s and The Fish Market. After graduating he taught college for a few years. As he was offered a Doctorial Program his life took a different turn and he and his college friend Sam decided to open an Italian restaurant that was named Aldo’s. That restaurant grew from one to several others in the Atlanta area. Being in the restaurant business is hard work with long hours. When both Sam and Rosco wanted to spend more time with their families all the Aldo restaurants were sold. Now they operate the one and only Sam and Rosco’s.
Rosco opened it for my students to ask questions. As a teacher I am never surprised at what they ask. This list will give you an idea of how teens are thinking.
- Do you eat out a lot?
- Where do you eat out?
- What do you like to cook at home?
- How did you learn to cook?
- How can I get a job in your restaurant?
- Will you come and take Mrs. Lupo’s place and cook for us every day?
Rosco put me to shame cooking in more ways than one! When I give a demo I make the recipe just as it is which usually makes 4-6 servings. This means for everyone to get a taste it is divided 28 ways. The students complain that I make this delicious food and serve them just morsels which is a form of slow torture. Rosco on the other hand served a generous serving and more if they wanted it. They were in heaven. It was a delicious meat sauce served over penne pasta. The garlic bread was heavenly. I am telling you that I could not wait to get the recipe and make it at home. It is so simple yet different from any meat sauce that I have had. As I am writing this now I can smell the sauce. Delicious!
As a home cook with no restaurant experience here are a few of my observations as I watched Rosco prepare the food for my class.
- He was very calm and did everything with such ease.
- He talked a lot about food safety and how important it is to be safe and clean in the kitchen. I preach that to my students all the time.
- And another thing that I stress and he did also is to clean as you go. I loved it!
- He used a dish towel to take the bread out of the oven just like every food show I have ever watched. I was taught to use a pot holder.
- He stressed that you should be creative with food. Open the refrigerator and pantry and see what you can come up with.
- Eat healthy.
It has been a week since Rosco spoke to my classes and the students are still talking about what they learned and that it was a fantastic cooking experience. So here are the recipes that brought down the house. Now you can turn your kitchen into a great Italian restaurant.
Meat Sauce from Roozebeh Sayyar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup diced yellow, red, and orange peppers ( May use green if desired)
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
- 2 1/2 lb. ground beef or turkey
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
- 1 cup Parmigiana cheese grated
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese shredded
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 lb. penne pasta
- In a large Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium high heat.
- Saute onions, peppers, and garlic until onions are opaque.
- Add salt and pepper and tomatoes. Cook for another few minutes.
- Add ground beef and cook until it is no longer pink.
- Add sliced mushrooms, tomato paste, and water.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until most of the water has evaporated. * Rosco cooked it for only 30 minutes but he stated he cooks it much longer when there is time.
- Cook pasta according to directions on the box.
- Add the fresh basil and cook a few minutes.
- In a large bowl or the pan used to cook the pasta mix pasta, cheese , and sauce together.
- Serve and enjoy!
*Some side notes here. Half of the recipe will feed 5 to 6 . I made the entire sauce recipe and cooked only 1 box of penne pasta. We had 5 servings with leftovers. I did not add fresh basil to the entire sauce and froze the remaining sauce for future use. I really think that the recipe will feed 12 – 15 people easily.
Here is the bread before and after baking.
Garlic Bread by Roozebeh Sayyar
- Cut french bread into 1 inch slices.
- Rub one side with olive oil.
- Spread minced garlic on the bread.
- Top with Parmigiana cheese.
- Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 5 minutes. We then turned the broiler on until the cheese started to change colors. Watch carefully.
Thanks to Rosco!
The Teacher Cooks