Food: Community club inspires resident to share cooking

Her recipes Ron’s Chicken Puttanesca ½ cup flour 1-½ teaspoons dried oregano 1-½ teaspoons salt 1-½ teaspoons pepper 4 pound fryer chicken 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 28-ounce jar marinara sauce 12 pitted kalamata olives 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon small capers, drained 2 teaspoons minced garlic 2 teaspoons minced, rinsed and blotted anchovies 2/3 cup dry white wine ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes Freshly grated Parmesan cheese Chopped fresh parsley 1 pound angel hair pasta Cut chicken into serving pieces and remove skin. Mix flour, oregano, salt and pepper in a large plastic bag. Add half the chicken pieces and shake to coat. Shake off excess. Repeat with remaining pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Place chicken in oil and brown three minutes on each side. Set aside. In the same Dutch oven, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil, capers, garlic, marinara sauce, anchovies, wine and red pepper flakes. Stir while heating to a simmer. Place chicken in the mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Allow to cool and refrigerate for one to three days. When ready to serve, heat in a 350-degree oven for about an hour. Add water to the sauce if it is too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cook angel hair pasta and drain. Serve sauce and chicken on pasta. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Uncle Jonny P’s Delizioso Sicilian Red Sauce 18 ounces tomato paste 8 cloves garlic, minced 28 ounces tomato sauce 1 quart chicken broth ½ cup brown sugar 1-½ cups grated Parmesan cheese ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons dried basil 1 to 2 tablespoons salt Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add tomato paste and garlic, stirring them together. Continue to cook and stir slightly browning the paste. Add broth and mix. Add tomato sauce, brown sugar and Parmesan cheese. Stir to mix. Add red pepper, black pepper and basil. Simmer for at least three hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sauce from burning. During the last half hour, taste sauce. Add salt according to taste. Add other seasonings as desired. Serve over pasta, meatballs, sausage or use sauce for lasagna.

Although Pat Papini has lived in Naperville for more than two decades, she didn’t get around to joining the Naperville Newcomers and Neighbors Club until two years ago.

With her career as a dental hygienist and three children to raise, her life was very busy. But a few years ago, her mother decided to move to Naperville from Milwaukee.

Papini was trying to think of a way for her mom, Mary Huth, to find new friends and interests, when she recalled one of her patients. Sue Maloney, the publicity chair for the Naperville-based social organization, quickly helped Huth find groups to meet her interests from among the more than 40 activities sponsored by the Naperville Newcomers and Neighbors Club. In a short time, Huth was knitting and lunching with new friends.

After being involved with the group for several months, Huth faced some serious health issues, including breast cancer. Her club friends quickly came to help and comfort her.

“I was bowled over by the extreme kindness she experienced from the Newcomers during her last year on earth,” Papini says. “It is a wonderful group of people.”

After her mother passed away, Papini decided she wanted to join the group.

“I have made some wonderful friends,” Papini says. “I like to pick from the many events and have really enjoyed the potlucks and wine tastings.”

Having friends and family for dinner is one of Papini’s favorite activities. One of her go-to recipes for guests is Ron’s Chicken Puttanesca.

“I don’t know where I got the recipe,” she explains. “But my husband, Ron, loves it when I make it, so that’s why I call it Ron’s Chicken Puttanesca.

“It is a great recipe because it can be made one or two days ahead.”

Papini does all of the chopping, mixing, frying and baking on one day. The mixture is then cooled and refrigerated overnight “to let the flavors soak in,” she explains. The next day, she pops the dish into the oven for an hour, and it is ready to serve.

“Add a salad and dinner is ready,” she says.

The recipe calls for a cut-up fryer chicken, but Papini notes that it can be make using all white meat pieces or dark meat pieces if preferred. She likes to serve the dish over angel hair pasta but notes that any pasta variety can be used.

Another one of Papini’s favorites is a hearty red sauce created by her son Jon.

“He is the favorite uncle,” Papini says. “My daughters have children, but my son and his wife have chosen not to have children.”

When her grandchildren are around, “they all love their Uncle Jonny. He can get them all wound up and then leave,” she laughs.

Her son tried making a red sauce recipe that Papini had gotten many years ago from a Sicilian neighbor. He altered the ingredients and created a new family favorite, which Papini named in his honor.

“It is great with meatballs or sausage and any type of pasta. I usually double the recipe and then freeze some to use later,” Papini says. “The sauce is good for making lasagna, too.”

The recipe has suggestions for seasoning but is best when seasoning is added to accommodate personal tastes. If the sauce is too thick, chicken broth or wine can be used to thin it slightly.

Papini, 65, encourages others to consider joining the Naperville Newcomers and Neighbors Club. She is proof that you don’t have to be new to town to make new friends.

A good way to get started with the group is to attend the annual kickoff coffee at 10 am. Sept. 8 at the Naperville Municipal Center. There will be an overview of the many available activities as well as opportunities to meet others.

Papini says you won’t find “a nicer group of people.”

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Her recipes Ron’s Chicken Puttanesca ½ cup flour 1-½ teaspoons dried oregano 1-½ teaspoons salt 1-½ teaspoons pepper 4 pound fryer chicken 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 28-ounce jar marinara sauce 12 pitted kalamata olives 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon small capers, drained 2 teaspoons minced garlic 2 teaspoons minced, rinsed and blotted anchovies 2/3 cup dry white wine ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes Freshly grated Parmesan cheese Chopped fresh parsley 1 pound angel hair pasta Cut chicken into serving pieces and remove skin. Mix flour, oregano, salt and pepper in a large plastic bag. Add half the chicken pieces and shake to coat. Shake off excess. Repeat with remaining pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Place chicken in oil and brown three minutes on each side. Set aside. In the same Dutch oven, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil, capers, garlic, marinara sauce, anchovies, wine and red pepper flakes. Stir while heating to a simmer. Place chicken in the mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Allow to cool and refrigerate for one to three days. When ready to serve, heat in a 350-degree oven for about an hour. Add water to the sauce if it is too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cook angel hair pasta and drain. Serve sauce and chicken on pasta. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Uncle Jonny P’s Delizioso Sicilian Red Sauce 18 ounces tomato paste 8 cloves garlic, minced 28 ounces tomato sauce 1 quart chicken broth ½ cup brown sugar 1-½ cups grated Parmesan cheese ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons dried basil 1 to 2 tablespoons salt Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add tomato paste and garlic, stirring them together. Continue to cook and stir slightly browning the paste. Add broth and mix. Add tomato sauce, brown sugar and Parmesan cheese. Stir to mix. Add red pepper, black pepper and basil. Simmer for at least three hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sauce from burning. During the last half hour, taste sauce. Add salt according to taste. Add other seasonings as desired. Serve over pasta, meatballs, sausage or use sauce for lasagna.

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