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Home {Cookin’} for the Holidays: Chef Melody

We love the idea of taking a special, sneak peek into the personal family narratives of the chefs who create such a public experience for the guests and staff of Crystal Bridges; so over the holiday season, we’ll be revealing important edible family secrets from the chefs and culinary experts at Crystal Bridges. 


We begin our holiday story with Chef Melody Lane’s family spaghetti recipe, hailing a formula that reaches back several generations, all the way back to Italy. That’s AMORE!

Chef Melody Lane is the Executive Banquet Chef at Crystal Bridges.

“Thanksgiving at my Aunt Mary and Uncle Jim’s house was a family tradition; they were both from Italy.

He was a horticulturist and she was a homemaker and they painstakingly built their own little house and all the gardens surrounding the house which were absolutely stunning…

Their little house had a big table the adults sat around for Thanksgiving, while the rambunctious children scattered noisily around different areas of the house. They had a great old sideboard chock full of traditional Thanksgiving fare…because it was a potluck. 

But the one thing that never changed was my great grandmother’s Family Spaghetti Recipe…

A family recipe that just wouldn’t be complete without it; the pasta dish is made with homemade spaghetti (store-bought for the recipe below) topped with fine tomato sauce, garlic toasted bread crumbs, soft golden raisins, and freshly grated Romano cheese – pretty simple, all you have to do is cook the spaghetti, mix it with sauce, then top it all with bread crumbs, raisins, cheese and a little dollop more of sauce just for good measure – then let it sit for a couple hours before eating –  that’s it…” – Chef Melody Lane


Chef Melody’s Holiday Pasta
(aka, Italian Side of the Family Pasta)

Photo credit: Meredith Mashburn

1 Box Spaghetti, cooked

2 cups Golden Raisins

4 cups Red Sauce (your favorite store-bought)

1 cup Romano Cheese, grated

1 cup Bread Crumbs

2 tablespoons Garlic, Minced

1 tablespoon Butter



Sauté bread crumbs with butter and minced garlic until golden brown, then set aside. After cooking, place pasta in base of large bowl, then layer with red sauce, toasted bread crumbs, raisins, and Romano cheese. Allow to set covered for about an hour, then serve.


This post was written by Case Dighero, Edible Culture.


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