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I also learned recently that October is National Italian Heritage Month. (Who knew?) So of course I have to be a part of that and celebrate and take pride in famous Italians like the master artist Michelangelo, Christopher Columbus, who changed the course of history, all the way up to today with the first house minority leader and the highest-ranking woman in Congress, Nancy Pelosi.

So I must take a moment here to take the time to honor my grandmother and grandfather, who came over to this country looking for a better life, bringing with them their traditions and their deep love and devotion of family. Some of the earliest and most memorable moments of my life were built around the family dinner table, where magic happened every night. Sitting down with family and friends and enjoying unbelievable meals that I still remember to this day (I thought everyone ate like that) and feeling so happy until my sister and I had to dry the dishes, take baths and get ready for bed. I wanted the feeling of sitting down at the dinner table to last forever, and you know what? It has!

I'm going to prepare a huge meal with my sister and daughters and invite the family over to celebrate and pay honor to the memory of my grandfather, grandmother and father. We will prepare all of our traditional dishes and raise a glass of wine in their honor.

I'm going to share with you my recipe for the classic Pasta with Meatballs and Silky Marinara Sauce  in honor of National Italian Heritage Month—and not just any meatballs. I went through maybe 20 pounds of ground chuck and subjected my family and friends to actual taste testing, giving them sheets of paper so they could rate the meatballs like they do on Dancing with the Stars. I have to admit, I took great liberties to come up with my own version of the perfect meatball that turned out be light and super moist. My grandmother would take issue I'm sure, but if she were still with me and tasted them, she would be proud!

As November quickly approaches and we get closer to Thanksgiving, I will share tips and secrets on how to help avoid stress while preparing for the big Thanksgiving feast!

Sending "Big Bowls of Love,"

Cristina

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