Festa Italiana is this weekend and the Rigatoni Team was back in action making their special baked rigatoni dish that was a hit last year. Headed up by Mike Vaccaro and Carrie Pacini this dynamic duo has their eye on quality and the finest ingredients they can possibly get to make this dish. “Good food doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s really about using quality ingredients and having patience ” says Carrie Pacini.
The team cooked over 300 gallons of pomodoro sauce (sugo) to serve with the rigatoni, using some of the finest plum tomatoes available from Italy . The sauce is not the only key to a great pasta dish it is also making sure you have a quality pasta” says Mike Vaccaro. After doing dozens of tests on different Italian pastas to determine which one held the most sauce and also kept it’s “al dente” form best, Mike ordered the pasta straight from Italy to make sure Festa Italiana was serving it up authentically. The dish is finished with grated Pecorino Romano cheese, also completely authentic and imported from Italy.
The Rigatoni team is now in its second year and did a fantastic job with the execution of a brilliant and wonderful dish. “We have amazing help to make this dish happen 2nd year running that includes kettlemaster Anthony Di Benedetto along with Anthony and Sandra Provenzano, and John Pacini. We all worked together to make sure everything is done correctly and exact so that the integrity of the sauce is consistent and delicious every time”, says Mike Vaccaro.
So if you would like to get your hands on some amazing baked rigatoni come out this weekend to Festa Italiana!
Sunamary Wilkerson, a 2010 graduate of Bellaire High School, has won one of two Guariglia/Pasquinelli Memorial Scholarships being funded by ICCC member Vince Guarliglia and named in honor of Michael and John C. Guariglia, his late son and brother, and Oriano Pasquinelli, his recently deceased friend. The awards were open to all 2010 high school graduates, regardless of nationality, race, creed, or religion. Each of the two awards is for $10,000 per year with a minimum commitment of two years.
Sunamary is the daughter of Biricim Wilkerson and Edward M. Wilkerson. Now a freshman attending the University of California at Berkeley, she plans to double major in philosophy and molecular and cell biology with the goal of becoming a neurologist. Suna graduated in the top four per cent of her Bellaire High School class with a grade point average of 4.72 on a 4.0 scale. Her SAT score of 2270 out of a possible 2400 was on the 95th percentile. Although all the candidates were outstanding, the committee was especially impressed with her two essays and her work history which includes shadowing neurologists at the Texas Medical Center for two summers and working as a cashier at a local nursery while being involved in myriad activities and leadership roles at school.
“What a fabulous group of kids. They were all so deserving that I wish we could have given out more scholarships – one for each of them. I was looking for a kid who finishes what he starts, someone with a fire in the belly, not necessarily the highest grades or best test scores”, said Vince Guariglia. The ICCC Scholarship Committee had its work cut out when it faced the daunting task of eliminating all others and choosing just one winner from a tall stack of very impressive candidates. After two rounds of secret ballots and spirited discussion, the committee unanimously chose Suna. Members of the scholarship committee are Sandra Celli Harris, Joe LoCicero, Mike Garofalo, Vince Guariglia and Claudia Sims. “Their applications were so good that any one of these kids could have won”, said Garofalo. “But in the end, I’m satisfied that we made the best choice,” he continued.
After the selection was made and the candidate was identified by name, Guariglia invited the Wilkersons to lunch for a chance to meet the scholarship winner. He commented, “When I met her I thought to myself, ‘She fits in the spirit of what I was personally trying to do.’” In a later telephone conversation with me, Suna’s mother, speaking about Guariglia, said, “I can’t believe it. He’s such a good man. He’s like an angel who came to us.”
“I want to thank the Scholarship Committee. They more than did their job,” said Guariglia. In compliance with guidelines established by the IRS, Guariglia simply sat as a member of the committee without undue influence. Any identifying information was redacted from the applications ahead of time by the office staff and two rounds of voting were held by secret ballot. On behalf of the Scholarship Committee, I would like to thank Guariglia for graciously participating in the selection process without trying to influence the committee members. He participated as an equal in a fair and deliberative process that was kept as objective as possible.
A second Guariglia/Pasquinelli Memorial Scholarship has been established by ICCC at the University of St. Thomas as a designated gift from Guariglia intended for a student attending UST during the 2010-2011 school year. This award is also for $10,000 per year with a minimum commitment of two years. It will be administered by UST with UST selecting the winner. As of this writing, the winning candidate has not yet been named.
Although the Guariglia/Pasquinelli Scholarships at ICCC and UST are new, Vincent Guariglia is no stranger to scholarship awards and the Italian Cultural and Community Center. Thirteen years ago he created the Torre/Sendrovitz Memorial Scholarships which were awarded to two deserving students for whom college attendance would have been a distant dream without his generous and life-altering donations. ICCC was honored to serve as the conduit for those awards then. We are again grateful for and honored by his generosity and regard for ICCC’s growing Scholarship Program.
Further information about the ICCC Scholarship Program or to make donations visit ICCC at 1101 Milford, Houston, Texas 77006, or visit www.iccchouston.com. Our telephone number is 713-524-4222.