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Catholic Recipe: Jolly Roman's Noodles


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 3/4 teaspoon thyme, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon capers (optional)
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 8 ounces medium egg noodles
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • Details

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: N/A
  • Cost: n/a
  • For Ages: n/a
  • Origin:

When Monsignor John Romaniello, an Italian-born American, was stationed in Hong Kong as director of Catholic Relief Services, he administered the distribution of allotted surplus foods from the United States — millions of pounds of dry milk, corn meal, and wheat flour. But the Monsignor had a big problem. A million brave refugees have escaped from Red China over the past ten years and are still coming out at the rate of several thousand a year. Hong Kong is bursting at the seams. A bed space serves as home. There is no room and no money to buy or keep the cooking utensils and baking ovens for making bread. How could these hungry refugees utilize the foodstuffs sent for them? One day a young Chinese girl said wistfully, "Noodles are wonderful," and the Monsignor's idea was born. He would convert the raw materials into noodles, beloved of Orientals, considered a symbol of good living and long life and eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with huge enjoyment. The way was not easy. First, a formula was needed to make use of the surplus foods. Next, factory sites had to be found and funds solicited to get the program under way. One by one the difficulties were surmounted. The formula was perfected, the factories were running, and "The Noodle Priest of Hong Kong," as he is still lovingly called, could distribute 200,000 bags (3 pounds each) a month to hungry Chinese refugees. Each bag is marked, in English and Chinese, "Donated by the People of the United States." All the proceeds from his book, originally entitled Bird of Sorrow and now selling in a paperback edition for fifty cents as Escape from Red China, are donated to his program.


Cook onion and green pepper slowly in butter or margarine 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, salt, pepper, mushrooms with liquid, capers, and tomato sauce. Simmer 10 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. Serve noodles with tomato sauce; sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965
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