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Good Food, Good Memories from 100 Years of the Hotel Utah


On June 9, 2011, The Hotel Utah/Joseph Smith Memorial Building will celebrate its centennial. As part of that celebration, it is hosting hotelutah100.com, where the public is invited to share memories of the historic landmark.

At hotelutah100.com, Giovanni Fortunata Furano shares her memories of the hotel’s kitchens, where her grandfather worked for 45 years. 

“Tony had never read or consulted a cookbook,” she quotes from a 1951 U-Tel newsletter. “Born with the instinctive flair for seasoning and most sensitive and discriminating taste buds, plus his habit of writing everything that was taught him about cooking in a small notebook he always carried, he had no need for cookbooks. Tony prided himself that he only had to be taught once the way to prepare or cook any food item. Once with his ears, once in Italian in his notebook, then imprinted in his receptive mind forever and ever . . . it was his!”

She includes two of Antonio “Tony” Furano’s specialties from his days as a culinary artist for the Hotel Utah:

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti Sauce:

  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste (diluted in 1 1/2 cups water)
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh Italian basil, finely chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves 

In a heavy saucepan, add olive oil and sauté garlic on medium heat. Add tomatoes, tomato paste that has been diluted in water, and tomato sauce, and stir until smooth.  Add salt, sugar, oregano, and basil. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1 hour until sauce is thickened.

While sauce is cooking, prepare meatballs:

Meatballs:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • ½ pound ground veal
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup day-old bread crumbs, or 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian Leaf Parsley, finely chopped  
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, veal and pork.  Add salt, pepper, parsley, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and breadcrumbs.  Mix together, adding water to moisten.  Form into balls.  Heat a large, heavy skillet, and add olive oil.  Fry meatballs until golden brown, being careful not to cook too fast.

Pour tomato sauce over meatballs and simmer uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until the meat mixture flavors the tomato sauce.  Serve over 1 pound hot spaghetti (Barilla) cooked al dente. Makes 6 to 8 generous portions.

Dressing for Tossed Green Salad

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 1/3 cups tomato juice
  • 1 quart oil
  • 1 pint white vinegar
  • Crush garlic, add rest of ingredients. Beat for 15 minutes. Shake well before using.