All posts by Lee Welsch

Perfect Pasta

Kissino Perfect PastaPasta is an integral part of every authentic Italian meal and you do not need to be a culinary expert to make a delicious pasta meal. It’s important to know the basics in order to create the perfect balance of pasta, sauce and fresh ingredients.

Pasta should be prepared just before serving

  1. Use a tall, large pot filled no more than ¾ with water. If there is too much water in the pan it may boil over, and too little water will not allow the past to cook properly.
  2. Use a 6 to 8 quart capacity pot to prepare one pound of pasta.
  3. The temperature of the water used to fill the pot does not affect the end result of the pasta. However, using hot tap water will allow the water to come to a boil faster.

Salt the water

  1. Salting the water brings out the natural flavor of the pasta.
  2. Salt must be added once the water has started to boil. If the salt is added too late, it will not be absorbed correctly into the pasta. Adding salt too early may lengthen the boiling time.
  3. Allow the salt to dissolve before adding the pasta.
  4. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, please follow your doctor’s orders. Adding salt is optional and a matter of taste.

Do NOT add oil to the water

  1. Choose a premium pasta with superior ingredients. When a poor-quality wheat is used, the pasta releases too much starch and sticks together.
  2. Olive oil does nothing for the taste of pasta and its usage will make the pasta slippery, allowing the sauce to “slide” off the pasta.
  3. Italians do not use olive oil when cooking pasta.

Follow the cooking times on the package

    1. For perfect pasta, follow the cooking times on the package. However, it is a good idea to taste the pasta just before draining to make sure it suits your taste.
    2. Pasta has been cooked properly when it is soft on the outside, but the inside is still a little hard. In authentic Italian cooking, this is called al dente.

Drain pasta immediately after it is done cooking

  1. Drain pasta into a large colander and toss it gently to remove excess liquid.
  2. The pasta should remain moist but not dripping wet.
  3. Pasta should not be rinsed after cooking unless for a pasta salad recipe. The natural starches released from the pasta complement the pasta because they help “bind” the sauce that is to be used, and allow the sauce to adhere better to the pasta.
  4. Always save a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water; it may be needed to dilute the sauce or in sauteing the pasta with the sauce before serving.
  5. In Italy, pasta is usually undercooked in the water by about three minutes. Pasta is then transferred to a saute pan with the prepared sauce, and then cooked with the sauce for additional three minutes allowing the pasta to absorb the flavors of the sauce.

Add sauce and serve immediately

  1. When pasta is drained it is still cooking. Therefore, the sauce should be added quickly.
  2. Pasta should be served hot.
  3. Italians use very little sauce with their pasta – just enough to coat it.
  4. To finish the pasta, top with Parmesan cheese, a little freshly ground black pepper, or olive oil.
Kissino Pasta Sauce Raleys

Local Spaghetti Sauce at Raley’s

North Lake Tahoe Bonanza – Local KISSINO spaghetti sauce is going to be competing against Ragu and Prego, the heavyweights of the pasta sauce industry on the shelves of the Lake Tahoe Raley’s locations, including the Incline Village Raley’s starting Friday. KISSINO (Killer Italian Spaghetti Sauce, It’s Number One) is part-owned by Tony Casino, an Incline resident. Casino’s family are descended from the Italian Island of Sicily and Tony Casino’s father, Dennis Casino said the recipe is an old family one. The two sauces which will be available are made without preservatives or added sugar. KISSINO is being launched with a sauce tasting today and Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. at Raley’s.

Courtesy of North Lake Tahoe Bonanza 2/29/2008
Click Here For Complete Article

kissino san clamente farmers market

Sauce Maker Peddles Wares at Farmers Market

North Lake Tahoe Bonanza – It’s not surprising that the family that created KISS (Killer Italian Sicilian Sauce) comes from an environment of hanging out in the kitchen with family and friends.

The Casino family, transplanted from Sicily to Southern California, has a well established tradition of gathering in the kitchen.

Back in the 1950s when kitchens were large, several generations lived in the same neighborhood and neighbors would gather to talk, sip wine, stir sauces, chop vegetables and taste the end result before adding a bit of this or a pinch of that.

That was when cooking was really cooking — not nuking a bite or pausing at the fast-food, drive-through window — and it was a way of life that brought people together.

“Everyone in my family knows how to cook,” said Tony Casino of Incline Village.

He said the sauce is made from a recipe his father created.

Dennis Casino, Tony’s father, has been offering the sauce at farmers markets in San Clemente and in Corona del Mar, Calif., while Tony offers the sauce at the Incline Village farmers market.

The elder Casino had not planned on going into the food business. He started out teaching and coaching football. That career lasted 23 years, he said.

When Dennis sought a second fulfilling career, his thoughts turned naturally to food.

“I’m happy when I’m around food,” he said. “Cooking is like building model airplanes except when you’re finished there’s nothing left over.”

Dennis bought the Ballpark Pizza deli and restaurant in Oceanside, Calif. Customers often asked him for the sauce, especially when they heard he was closing the restaurant in 1996.

“I ran the business on a shoestring, and that’s almost a death knell for a restaurant,” Dennis said.

When he left the restaurant business he worked for H&R Block until he became proficient enough to start his own tax business. The money he earned doing this has helped enable Casino to return to his first love: cooking.

“It’s an area I keep returning to,” he added.

He said that when his cooking tastes right to him other people seem to agree.

“I don’t mean that in a bragging way,” he said. “I mostly cook what I like to eat.”

He said that rather than neutralize the acidity on the tomato-based sauce he pays extra to have the processors skim the acid off the top.

Many other sauces are neutralized by adding sugar or baking soda, he said.

“You can always taste refined sugar, and baking soda leaves a bitter taste,” Dennis said.

“I add burgundy wine and the natural sugars from that blend with the other ingredients,” he said.

He also adds the ingredients in a certain order and takes the temperature of the sauce as he goes along.

“It used to take me six hours to make the sauce,” Dennis said.

But once he hooked up with a food technologist, the formula was plugged into a computer, and the process was streamlined into just one hour.

From the food technologist, the sauce proceeds to a formula processor.

“I still order all of the raw materials,” Dennis said.

He found a processor that would allow him to oversee production on the first two runs.

“Now they’ve got the hang of it; I don’t need to be right there any more,” said Dennis.

Prior Foods in Newport Beach agreed to process a minimum amount of 225 gallons, or 30 cases of sauce, Dennis said.

“I’m at a new junction with the business now,” he said.

Dennis and Tony are trying to get the sauce into supermarkets.

“I need some expertise, a food broker or sales representative,” he said. “I really believe this sauce can compete.”

Courtesy of North Lake Tahoe Bonanza 7/21/2000
Click Here For Complete Article

Sausage Lasagna

lasagnapng28This classic dish is a meal on its own. Use any sausage, spicy or mild for an authentic italian flavor.


  • 1 1/2 lbs sausage
  • 2 large onions
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 lbs ricotta cheese
  • 1 lb shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 jars KISSINO Classic Marinara
  • 12 pieces lasagna


  1. Get the links and split them with a knife and discard the membrane of the sausage. This way the link sausage is more moist then the ground.
  2. Use half of the olive oil in a large skillet and brown the sausage.
  3. Dice the onions and in a separate skillet use the other half of the olive oil and sauté the onions.
  4. When the sausage is browned use a colander to drain off the fat and put the sausage in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Follow the same procedure with the onions and when drained add the onions to the bowl in which you placed the sausage. Let cool for a bit.
  6. Add the ricotta cheese to the sausage and onions and use you hands (gloved) to mix the sausage, onions and cheese.
  7. In a baking dish (standard is 73x9x2 inches), spray with non-stick canola oil spray. Spread enough sauce to cover the bottom of the dish.
  8. Place four pieces of the uncooked pasta crosswise in the pan. They should not touch, as they will expand.
  9. Spread a layer of the sausage-onion-cheese mixture over the pasta.
  10. Spread enough sauce to cover the mixture.
  11. Cover that with mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  12. Preheat oven to 350˚.
  13. Repeat steps 8-11 two more times.
  14. Cover the baking dish with tin foil (try to tent the foil so the cheese will not stick to it).
  15. Bake for 30 minutes.
  16. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese bubbles.
  17. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes prior to cutting.
  18. Serve with additional KISSINO Pasta Sauce.

Penne Rigate with Chicken

pennePenne Rigate is a thin tube pasta with sharp diagonally cut ends, which resemble the end of a quill pen. These tubes are perfect for holding tasty pockets of KISSINO Pasta Sauce. The classic preparation of breaded chicken will have you coming back for bite after bite.


  • 1 pkg. penne rigate
  • 1 yellow pepper (sliced)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • KISSINO Pasta Sauce (any flavor)
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast sliced and grilled
  • Parsley and basil


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. Saute pepper, onion and garlic in olive oil until tender.
  3. Stir in chicken, pasta sauce, basil and parsley and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve over the penne rigate.

Carlos Chicken Cacciatore

cacciatoreThis delicious recipe was submitted by Julia Mueller. Please visit her blog, Roasted Root Food, for more great recipes!


  • 1 whole chicken, butchered
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 jar KISSINO Mushroom Spaghetti Sauce


  1. Butcher the chicken into regular cuts (thighs, wings, etc). In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat before adding anything to the pan. Place the chicken pieces in the skillet and brown, 5 minutes each side or until skin is golden brown, careful to keep watch so as to not overcook. Note: depending on how large your chicken is, you may need to separate the recipe between 2 skillets.
  2. Once chicken is browned, remove skillet from heat. Place all pieces of chicken in a large bowl or dish and set aside. In the same skillet, sauté the chopped onion and minced garlic until fragrant and translucent, about 8 minutes. Place chicken pieces back in the skillet, giving each piece as much space as possible. Add chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the Kissino sauce, stir contents of the skillet around, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, place a lid on top of the skillet but leave a small crack so that steam can escape and liquids can reduce. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Serve the chicken with ample sauce and onions over rice, pasta, or with herb-seasoned marsala roasted vegetables.

Italian Sausage Casserole

This hearty casserole is a great meal to share with friends and family. We recommend you be generous with the cheese and sauce!



  1. Dice the onion and set aside.
  2. Cut the italian sausages into 1 inch chunks.
  3. Cover the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and add the onions until liquid appears.
  4. Add the Italian sausage to the onions and continue to saute until sausage is cooked.
  5. Remove from the heat and pour ingredients into a casserole dish.
  6. Cover with provolone cheese and bake at 350˚ until the cheese begins to brown.
  7. Serve with grilled asparagus, broccoli or mushrooms.