You name it, Doris Ulizzi can make it. The high-energy Norwalk resident said she can cook anything from pumpkin rolls to lasagna, Mexican chicken to fried apples.
The breakfasts Ulizzi loves to make sound as hearty as her perpetual laugh. When her adult sons were g rowing up, she fixed those country breakfasts for them once a week. The morning meal featured fare such as potatoes, gravy, sausage, bacon, fried apples and homemade biscuits.
"They were well fed," the Realtor of nine years said, referring to 25-year-old Vince and 30-year-old Nick.
Ulizzi was born and raised in Cleveland but comes from a southern family that cooked as a tradition.
She picked up the recipes for bologna gravy and beef vegetable soup from her mother, and Italian recipes.
Ulizzi isn't just talking about your average spaghetti and meatballs; she said she fixes a variety of pastas, with all different shapes and tastes. She said her elbow macaroni tastes different than her rigatoni, which has a different taste than her stuffed shells. Speaking of taste, she adds pork to tomato sauce to give improve its flavor.
Ask Ulizzi about her lasagna her favorite dish to eat and cook and her enthusiasm will heighten beyond her natural cheerfulness.
Some people don't know what type of cheese to use to top off their lasagna, she said.
"You want ricotta cheese," she said, pronouncing the brand with an Italian accent.
"Because that's what makes it good," Ulizzi said.
She tops her lasagna, which she makes in big portions, with a hearty sauce.
Ulizzi comes from a big family, with three sisters and two brothers. With a large family, eating fancy meals isn't always possible. With a tight budget, the Ulizzis at times turned to simple food such as beef vegetable soup.
"I was raised on these kinds of soups," she said.
Ulizzi has passed on that tradition to her sons. Younger son Vince is also carrying on the cooking tradition.
What are his specialties?
"Open your spice rack and here he goes," Ulizzi said.
She said Vince, who likes to experiment with recipes, once put cinnamon in one of her sauces.
"I said 'That's it, hands off my spices,'" she said.