Special of the Day: Lunch on the Town… Tasty Tuesdays at Pizazz

18 Feb Special of the Day: Lunch on the Town… Tasty Tuesdays at Pizazz

Italian Comfort Food

Italian Comfort Food

We lucky locals in Great Falls have more and more options all the time for lunch on the town. If you haven’t tried Tasty Tuesdays at Pizazz, a very cool kitchen store located at 403 Central Avenue, the time is ripe to give them a call at 452.6724 and sign up for an enjoyable Lunch and Learn class.

Pizazz owner Veronica Ronnau says she got the idea of Tasty Tuesdays from Brie Thompson who owns Olivelle in Bozeman.  According to Ronnau, Thompson always did a tasting on Tuesdays using her olive oils in recipes that people could come in and taste.  Ronnau says she also has always heard about the “lunch and learns” that Lily used to offer years ago. Ronnau combined the concepts to make Tasty Tuesdays a real experience and a meal as well as an opportunity for cooks to “strut their stuff”!

I, myself, have been wanting to try a cooking class at Pizazz ever since they opened their kitchen in late November. My chance finally came a few weeks ago when my pal Jamie gathered a group of friends for Maury Villeneuve’s Tasty Tuesday Lunch and Learn class.  What a delight it was to spend my lunch hour watching Maury make American/Italian Comfort Food for us, aided by spicy sidekicks Connie Caouette, who kept us entertained with her humorous “Desperate Housewives” tales, and Pizazz owner Veronica Ronnau who highlighted her “Pizazz in the house” line of bulk foods they make right there in the store kitchen.

After whetting our appetite with “Maury’s Mom’s Salad”, the Tasty Tuesday trio served up Chicken and Sausage Raviolis with Lemon Pesto Drizzle, fresh pasta with Black Eagle Spaghetti Sauce, and Connie’s amazing Carmel-Apple Pies with Homemade Cinnamon Ice Cream.

The Chicken and Sausage Ravioli are delicious and available for sale in bulk at Pizazz. Tuck some away in the freezer for what Caouette calls a “can’t miss meal” that comes together in no time. Caouette and Ronnau had been making raviolis using a recipe that had been passed down in Caouette’s family for a while before deciding to offer them through the “Pizazz in the house” line of bulk foods made in the kitchen in the store. The Chicken and Sausage Ravioli are sold at Pizazz for $6.00 a baker dozen.

The Lemon Pesto Drizzle is made with two more of the “Pizazz in the house” products. The olive oil they have in bulk is $6.00 per 100 ml.  Ronnau says it is one of her favorites. She uses it in baking as well, to zip up her lemon cake and bars or rolls. The pesto is also made “in the house”.  It is a recipe Caouette has perfected over the years.  Caouette and Ronnau co-op garden, so they raise enough basil to make their personal stash of “green gold”.  Because the ingredients are pure and concentrated, an 8 oz. container, priced at $15.00 will likely last a long time.

Villeneuve shared that he clipped the original Black Eagle Spaghetti sauce recipe out of the Great Falls Tribune years ago, but has tweaked it over the years. With the help of Penny Rubner and Rick Lewis, he has achieved the perfection that his friends now call “Maury’s Famous Meat Sauce.”

Villeneuve has always loved food, growing up with a mom who was an excellent cook and could make anything, he says.  Before he retired, Villeneuve worked for years as a Sysco representative.  Rubner says Maury was the best Sysco guy in the world because he knew all the products so well, and he loved to cook.

Cooking classes at Pizazz started November 19th, and after a holiday break started up again the 7th of January.  They had so many calls that they started doing back-to-back classes at 11:30 and 12:30 on Tuesdays. Food adventurers can look forward to many more classes coming up at Pizazz including a cooking class series on Mediterranean cooking and a brunch class with author Lynne Heryford. They are excited to start their “Kids in the Kitchen” series this spring.

Prices range from $15.00 for the Tasty Tuesday class to $40.00 for hands-on classes.  The best way to get information about the classes being offered is to call Pizazz at 452.6724  to get on their email list.

With thanks to Veronica, Maury and Connie, I give you this week’s Special of the Day: Tasty Tuesdays at Pizazz and recipes for Maury’s Mama’s Salad with Vinaigrette, Egg Pasta Dough and Black Eagle Spaghetti Sauce.  Happy cooking!

Maury’s Mama’s Salad with Vinaigrette

1 head red leaf lettuce-chopped

1 head green leaf lettuce-chopped

Wash and set aside

2 stalks celery

1 bunch green onions

1 pint grape tomatoes

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

Place the vegetables in a bowl and put the olive oil and vinegar on the vegetables to marinate. When ready to serve, toss in the greens and seasonings.


½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup garlic red wine vinegar

1 t. California style garlic salt

Fresh ground pepper- to taste

Egg Pasta Dough
2 cups flour

½ tsp. salt

3 large eggs- at room temperature

2 tbsp. olive oil

1-2 tbsp. water, as needed

In a medium sized bowl, stir flour and salt together, add eggs and olive oil. If it is too dry, add water to get nice smooth dough. Work into a ball. Turn out onto a pastry mat and form a ball, wrap in plastic wrap. Let rest before rolling.

Black Eagle Spaghetti Sauce

(makes 5 quarts)

Tomato Mixture

2 ½ cups canned tomato paste

2 quarts water

1 tbsp. salt

2 cups chicken broth

2 tsp. pepper

1 tbsp. Kitchen Bouquet

1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup mix

3 bay leaves

1 ½ tsp. sweet basil

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. dried bouillon

Combine in a large kettle, bring to a boil. Simmer while browning meat and vegetables.

Meat and Vegetable Mixture

4-5 pounds ground chuck

1 pound ground pork or bulk sausage

2 tsp. salt

1 ½ tsp. pepper

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium onions, ground

½ stalk celery, ground, leaves and all

2-3 handfuls of fresh parsley

Brown meat and vegetables slowly for one hour. Add the tomato mixture and simmer six hours until thick. Add more broth if too thick. Cool and pour into freezer containers and freeze.

Serve over the egg pasta, raviolis or half and half!

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.



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