Celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is always something I look forward to. As a child and even as an adult, the day was a special one for Mom and me.

We’d go to Mass at St. Peter’s Church in Point Pleasant Beach and then head down town to one of the restaurants there — Frankie’s was a real favorite — to have a ladies’ lunch. Then we’d get a bit of Christmas shopping in.

In the years following her death, it remained a ladies day in her honor as several good friends would spend the day in New York with me, attending Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, chowing down somewhere near Rockefeller Center and the Channel Gardens and getting a bit of shopping in.

The trip to New York is going off a day late this year though still with the same agenda.

It was pushed back in order to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception from the framework of a diocesan celebration. The Monitor staff joined with faithful, priests and religious around the diocese and headed over to St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, where Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., celebrated the 12:10 p.m. Mass.

It was Bishop O’Connell’s first Mass at the cathedral as the 10th bishop of Trenton. It was a beautiful and momentous occasion, one in which homage was paid to Bishop Emeritus John M. Smith (who received a well deserved standing ovation). Bishop O’Connell  delivered a homily that hit all of the right notes, urging everyone to focus on the fact that with God, nothing is impossible.

For dinner tonight, I hope to compose an impossibly delicious Fettuccine Alfredo in culinary celebration of the day. When my nieces and nephews and godchildren were little, I used to whip up  “blue food” symbolic of her mantle for Marian feasts. That was most usually accomplished by adding blue coloring to whip cream or icing for dessert.

For several years, in honor of the Immaculate, I’ve brought “white” food to the table for dinner. Last year at this time, the meal consisted of stuffed flounder founder, mashed potatoes and some (frozen) white asparagus. This year, it’s pasta a plenty.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Ingredients: 10 ounce package fettuccini pasta; 1/2 cup butter; 3 cloves garlic, chopped; 1 cup heavy cream; 1 egg yolk; 2 cups freshly grated Peccorino Romano cheese; 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped.

Directions: cook the pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter and add the chopped garlic. Cook on low for about 5 minutes, stirring often, making sure not to burn the garlic. pour about 1/4 of the heavy cream into a small bowl. Add the egg yok and beat together; set aside. Pour the remaining cream into the frying pan. Increase the heat to medium high. As the cream starts to boil, mix rapidly, using a whisk. Slowly add the cream/egg mixture. Continue whisking until well blended. Add 1 cup of grated cheese and continue to mix the cream. Pour in the remaining cheese and mix until smooth. Remove from stove, toss with pasta in a large pasta bowl and serve immediately.


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