Hello.  This is Monique’s son, Jean-Luc, making my first contribution to the Al Dente Canoodler (this is a family business, after all).

I’m writing from Toulouse, France, where I currently live teaching English and running an inline hockey program.  While I’m having a wonderful experience on this side of the ocean, there are certain American traditions that one cannot help but miss.   Example: the Super Bowl.  That’s right, without a premium cable sports package and because I teach class early on Monday morning, I sadly will not be watching the Saints take on the Colts.  Unfortunately, this also means that there will be none of the buffalo wings, nachos or spreads of dip that normally accompany the most-watched game of the year.  What should I be more sad about missing, the game or the food?  I’m not sure.

Now pasta may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you plan out this Sunday’s menu.  And we would would never suggest replacing your tortilla chips with our Red Chili Pepper Fettucine for Nachos alla Al Dente (although it could be interesting…).  However, for anyone who has ever been to a Super Bowl party and left feeling as if they failed to have a proper meal yet are still stuffed, allow me to suggest my mother’s Super Pasta Bake recipe.  With italian sausage, smoked mozzarella, parmesan, and of course, Al Dente Pasta and Monique’s sauce, this dish can be cooked ahead, will please the crowds and leave them feeling as if their meal consisted of more than several trips to the pretzel bowl.

If you’re in the Ann Arbor area, Monique’s sauces can be found locally at Arbor Farms, Produce Station, Sparrow’s, Whole Foods, Wenk’s Pharmacy, Stadium Gourmet and Plum Market. If you don’t live in Ann Arbor, you can order them online and receive 15% off by entering coupon code MSSM10 when checking out.

Had I not already depleted my stock of imported Al Dente, I would make this dish on Sunday in hopes of capturing some of that Super Bowl magic.  Fortunately, the family will be coming soon and bringing me a whole new assortment of the pasta I miss the most.  While they’re here we will be doing several special recipes and giveaways on the blog.  Be sure to check it out.

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