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Catholic Recipe: Monsignor's Noodles with Clam Sauce


  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cans (7-1/2 ounces each) minced clams
  • 3/4 cup white wine or clam juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed basil
  • 8 ounces medium egg noodles
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Details

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 11+
  • 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 garlic in butter or margarine slowly 1 minute. Stir in flour, then clams with liquid, wine or clam juice, salt, pepper, and basil. Cook and stir until mixture thickens; reduce heat; simmer about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. Stir parsley into clam sauce and serve over noodles. Makes 4 servings.

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