Posted by: philipfontana | May 16, 2018

9th PastaPost

Ninth PastaPost

Pasta Manfredi


Phil & Geri



     Excuse us for living, but we can’t believe we didn’t share this superb pasta recipe yet! It’s so good and we have it so often on Friday nights! What were we thinking? Here it is! But first there always has to be a backstory that goes along with our recipes. That’s just the way it is! These recipes don’t just pop up into our heads. They evolve for good reason…at least to us!

A Size AlCrop

         Pictured here is Al Manfredi, sixth grade teacher, High Mountain Road, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. Al loved Italian food and bragged and bragged how good arugula was and how much he loved arugula, most likely in salads we guess. We didn’t even know what arugula was until I worked with Al at High Mountain Road School as his principal. It’s a green leafy vegetable similar to fresh spinach leaves and quite pungent in taste. And it was Al’s influence that cause us to order arugula salads at Big Fish restaurant, Dewey Beach, Delaware, many years ago. – – Our first taste! – – Strong stuff! – – Blame it on Al!

B Size HMR

     This is High Mountain Road School (HMR), Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, where Al Manfredi and I worked together in the late 1980’s & early 1990’s. Al spent most of his career at High Mountain Road School teaching sixth grade.  He served under my predecessor principal, George Ruocco and myself. Prior to that, Al taught at Franklin Avenue Middle School across town. He ended his career retiring from Woodside Avenue School in his mid-60’s. – – His entire teaching career in Franklin Lakes in Bergen County, northern New Jersey, where he lived and he and his wife, Sarajane, raised four children. To Al, having been raised in the rough and tough “Hell’s Kitchen” area of New York City, Franklin Lakes was “the countryside.” Hell’s Kitchen is that part of NYC located just on the west edge of the Broadway district. Al was an interesting person, both sophisticated, well-read, and had a slight “tough guy” edge to him as well.  Al told a great story of him and his classmates in a Catholic elementary school being commandeered into a children’s chorus for some performance at the Metropolitan Opera! Al retired in 1996 and we sadly lost him to a terrible illness 6-7 years later. I like to recall the memory when Al invited me to his house for dinner prior to returning to HMR together for an evening program or event.  And there are plenty “Al Manfredi stories” to cherish!!!  

C Size Crazy Photo

        This is what I called a “crazy photo.” I took one every school year at our first faculty meeting the day before the school year opened. – – The idea being it takes a little “craziness” to get through every school year! Al Manfredi, in true spirit of the photo, is pictured second from the right sticking out his tongue! (And that’s me, photo extreme left!) Al was the most respected teacher among this faculty of outstanding teaching talent. He was respected for his years of experience and the wisdom he brought to all we faced as a little elementary school, grades K-6, of 230 some students and 25 teachers.

D Size Class Photo

          This is a combined photo of the two 6th grade classes at High Mountain Road School in 1991. The teachers are standing left and right of the students, Al Manfredi, obviously, photo left, and less obvious, that’s the teacher photo right, Stacey Nolan, looking not much older than the kids. Al taught his specialty, social studies, to both classes separately, while Stacey taught each class science. Al’s greatest expertise and love was teaching the classical period, the Greeks and the Romans. The highlight was the hands-on experience Al gave his students in archaeology. He had the students each make his/her own clay jar and place it in a shoe box. To their shock, students one day entered the classroom to see their jars had been smashed to pieces by guess who. The learning objective of the next lesson for students was to glue their own jars back together, piece by piece. – – The kids never forgot that! – – Nice teaching, Al!


     Al Manfredi not only made a big impression on his students and the faculty, but this principal as well. Along with my great regard for Al, I never forgot about his love for arugula! I told my wife, Geri, my partner-in-crime creating new pasta dishes, wouldn’t it be great to make a pasta recipe using arugula and call it “Pasta Manfredi”! It was one of Al’s favorites that he talked about as a lover of Italian food from his heritage. – – What to include besides arugula in the recipe? – -There had to be garlic. – – And those small cherry tomatoes would liven, sweeten things up! – – Maybe fettuccine! As always, the rest I left to Geri, the mastermind and the real chef behind all my crazy ideas. The result was a DELICIOUS “Pasta Manfredi”! Here it is!

E Size Pasta



…Pasta Manfredi


3/4 cup oil (canola or olive)

1 med. bunch of scallions (sliced 1/4” thick)

8 cloves garlic (sliced long)

1 tsp. black pepper (fresh ground)

3/4 pint grape tomatoes sliced in half

3 cups Arugula loosely packed

1/2 cup grated cheese (preferably Pecorino Romano)

1/2 lb. Fettuccine pasta (or your preferred pasta)

1 tbs. salt

3-4 quarts boiling water


Sauté scallions, garlic & black pepper in the oil in medium sauce pan until tender, 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain in colander & reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water. Add scallion mixture, pasta water, tomatoes, Arugula, & cheese, & toss gently.

Makes 2 generous servings! Add ground black pepper to taste.

Note: If you heat up “leftovers,” be sure to add fresh Arugula.

Excuse us for living, but we have Pasta Manfredi as often as our other favorite pasta dishes! Try it! You will see why! – – Delizioso!

Comments: Please, before or after you try this!!!   





  1. Right…that’s arugula on the list for the farmer’s market on Saturday….
    Known to us in the U.K. as rocket. I had never thought of using it in a pasta dish but after your last recipe recommendation, i have faith!

  2. Helen Devries, You know you always teach me something or two! Arugula=Rocket in UK!!!!! It’s pungent but offset by the sweet cherry tomatoes &, therefore, VERY GOOD!!! Hope you DO try it & like it! Thanks as always! Phil

  3. Sounds absolutely delicious!!

    • GP Cox, Thanks, GP!!! Hope you try it! I better visit what you are posting lately! I’m getting old at 71, GP! I’ve been struggling with serious back issues. Got GREAT help from a Physical Therapist!!! May all things be going well with you!!! Phil

      • Except for ungodly sinus trouble, I’m pretty good – overweight, but okay! Sorry to hear about your back – do what your therapist says!

      • GP, Sinus!!! Allergies here! You can address the weight ….output & input, exercise & diet, right?! Yes, I am following PT orders! Thanks again, GP! Phil

  4. gosh Phil-I am on my way over lol…that dish looks YUMMY! I do love arugula…or spinach for my salads.
    But there are 2 things in life I WILL NOT eat because of the pungent(terrible) taste: asparagus & root beer.
    What wonderful memories you have of Al-he sounds like a really nice fellow…

    • Marg, WOW! You are into arugula! You might like this recipe! I don’t care for asparagus also! Yes, Al Mandredi was a great human being! Can you believe…See you NEXT WEEK!!! Thanks for commenting as always! Phil

  5. I am with Al! I love arugula too! I do put them on my pasta and pizza 😀 Arugula was my regular veggies when I was in the Netherlands. Now in the U.S. somehow I am more into brussel sprouts! But I will try Al’s pasta – sounds delicious and healthy!! Thank you, Phil!

    • Indah Susanti, Indah! You too love arugula!!!…on pasta AND pizza!!! I never knew people ate arugula as a regular vegetable & in the Netherlands too!!! Brussel sprouts…good! I know you are going to like Pasta Manfredi & with your love of arugula you will definitely try it! What a nice comment!!! May all things be well!!! Your website amazes me as do YOU & your trips & your diving & your photography!!! Phil

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