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IDEA ALLEY: Rigatoni honors friend; another Shack sauce

by Kelly Brant | May 11, 2022 at 1:55 a.m.
(Illustration by Kelly Brant)

Recipes that appear in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

We've got more Shack barbecue sauce recipes to come, but let's start with something different this week. If only, at the very least, to give those not pining for barbecue of yore a break.

First up is this recipe shared by Sarah Frost in memory of her friend, Jean Hill Churchill.

"Jean acquired this recipe from the Little Rock Junior League cookbook, 'Traditions,' and it quickly became her 'go to' recipe when company came or when feeding the youth at Conway First United Methodist Church or fancy friends in their Washington apartment or a big family dinner at her home. The recipe was submitted to the cookbook by Joy McGinnis of Johnson City, Tenn. Jean always served the Sausage Rigatoni with a nice green salad and hot and heavily buttered French bread! The last time our group of Big Creek girlfriends gathered at her house in Dickson, Tenn., we enjoyed this highly expected and anticipated recipe of Sausage Rigatoni to be on the table! We were not disappointed!"

Sausage Rigatoni

  • 2 cups rigatoni noodles
  • Salt
  • 1 pound ground sausage, mild or hot
  • Butter, for coating pan
  • 4 cups tomato sauce (1 large can plus 1 regular can), divided use
  • ½ pound provolone cheese, sliced
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Basil, to taste
  • Oregano, to taste
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • ½ to 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook rigatoni in boiling salted water until tender; drain.

Saute sausage until brown; drain.

Butter a 2-quart casserole and layer in order as follows:

Rigatoni, half of the tomato sauce, a layer of sliced provolone cheese, the sour cream, the sausage, sprinkle seasonings over the meat, a layer of mozzarella, the remaining tomato sauce and finally the parmesan.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and serve hot with a nice green salad and hot heavily buttered French bread.

■  ■  ■

Marlene Jackson sent this recipe for rolls in response to Ron Henderson's request for rolls like the Venesian Inn served in the late 1960s.

"I have used [this] recipe for years and everyone really enjoys it," Jackson wrote.

Copycat Venesian Inn Rolls

  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 pint warm water
  • ½ cup All-Bran cereal
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup melted shortening or you can use canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add All-Bran and soak to dissolve.

Stir in other ingredients. Cover bowl and let rise to double. Turn out on floured board and knead until smooth.

Shape into desired rolls or roll the dough out and cut with biscuit cutter. Place in greased pan, cover and rise.

Rise until double. Bake in 425-degree oven about 20 minutes or until browned.

■  ■  ■

And now for all you Shack lovers, here's another iteration of Shack sauce. This one is from Joe Marchese.

"[I] read your article on the long-lost Shack BBQ Sauce Recipe today. As luck would have it, I came across one yesterday while going through a box of family photos, letters, and recipes I discovered in the attic while attempting to clear out some old junk to make room for some new!

I think this is my Mom's handwriting, and judging from the condition of the paper, I'm betting it's over 40 years old. My family were big fans of The Shack, and my folks were acquaintances of the Slaughters. Make of this what you will. I haven't attempted to make this yet, but it's on my culinary radar!"

Barbecue Sauce (Like the Shack's)

  • 2 cups Coca-Cola
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ large onion, very finely minced

Mix everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook very slowly until reached the desired thickness. Will keep in refrigerator indefinitely.

Makes 1 quart.


◼️ Roast beef on rye like that served at Tom & Andrew's restaurant back in the 1960s for Bill R. Webb.

◼️ Spaghetti and meatballs like those served at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Pine Bluff for Mary Green. "The meatballs were the best ever — tender, moist & delicious." Green says the recipe was published in the Pine Bluff Commercial in the mid to late 1970s, but I haven't had any luck finding it.

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