About the food:
Rice Balls (can be served hot or cold) – In Italy, people walk
around eating these from their hands, like a little snack, says
Grandma Rose, whose family owned vineyards, hotels and
restaurants in the area around Mt. Vesuvius. Rose’s grandfather’s
was wonderful cooking together.”
In 1973, the Carvelli family moved to Port St. Lucie and
opened Carvelli’s Deli, the first Italian deli in the three-county
area. The whole family was involved in the business. Sons
John (today a St. Lucie County School Board member) and
Joseph, finished their homework at a table inside the deli
and John and his friends served as waiters for the burgeoning
catering business. “We kept so busy…sometimes we had
two or three events a night we were catering,” Rose says.
“We even catered for a movie that was being filmed here for
The little deli at Edwards Road and U.S. 1 became a melting
pot of people picking up their Italian specialties or just
stopping by. With Joseph Carvelli’s death in 1979, Carvelli’s
Deli closed its doors. Soon after, Rose Carvelli went to work
for the school district, as secretary to the Athletic Department
at Port St. Lucie’s first high school. Cooking became her
hobby instead of her job and she relished the chance to cook
for school functions and family get-togethers.
“Cooking is always a pleasure for me,” Rose, 73, insists,
elbow deep in a pan of eggplant rolletini. “My friends like to
Mima’s Italian Tomato Sauce
1 ½ T. olive oil
1 small yellow onion or ½ red onion
3 garlic cloves crushed
3 sausage links (med or hot, or pork neck bones)
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 28 oz tomato puree
1 T. oregano
6 leaves fresh basil
Salt & Pepper
Heat sauce pan. Add olive oil, chopped onion, and
sauté lightly. Add sausage (or neck bones) sauté until
brown. Add tomatoes (squash by hand). Add puree. Salt,
pepper, oregano and fresh basil. If sauce is thick, thin
with white wine or water.
Cook for approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
Rose serves her ‘Mima's Tomato Sauce’ with Italian sausage instead of meatballs.
wine, called Tears of Christ is still available today.
Bread Salad: This is similar to the Italian appetizer, grilled
bruschetta. In Rose’s family, the kids were rewarded for their
help cooking dinner and while they were waited were served
this mixture of bread and fresh tomatoes.
Eggplant Rolletini: One of John Carvelli’s favorites, this dish
combined eggplant and pasta
Mima’s Italian Tomato Sauce: Rose likes to serve this with
sausage and she uses whole tomatoes not crushed.
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