Try making some traditional Italian recipes with Bella Cucina Old Italian Family Recipes.

Author Don Napolitano is a chef and consultant in the restaurant industry.

“I started in business as a CEO. I went to the University of San Francisco for two masters degrees,” said Napolitano. “During those years I also went to three different culinary schools to study my second passion, culinary arts.”

Napolitano released an Italian cookbook for both those familiar with cooking and beginners.

“The book teaches about long established successful Italian recipes brought here from Italy by family,” said Napolitano. “The book has some quick and easy recipes that take less than 30 minutes. The book is designed for the seasoned cook as well as the beginner.”

After being a CEO for 30 years, Napolitano says he leaned into his passion for consulting restaurants.

Learn more about Napolitano’s history, some tips, and more.

I have…
written eight books, produced a movie, and advised many companies on how to fix their problems.

I started the cookbook because…
I want to share my experience by providing worthwhile recipes and explain family recipes for those that may be Italian but have no clue about the food preparation. 

My favorite way to spend my leisure time is…
to listen to Italian music with a glass of wine and cook. I love the smell of red sauce with garlic when it permeates the home. I find sharing a good meal with family and friends is like a day with sunshine. Any day with old wine and [friends’ laughter] are those who eat well and live well.

Need Industry Advice?
Reach out with questions to Napolitano through email:

Our recipes include…
pasta varieties, sauces, lamb, desserts, salads, bread, cheese, and wine. You don’t need any more.

The best part of my job is…
[to see a person] experiencing my culinary delights. 

One of my favorite projects has been…
[making] the perfect hamburger. Italians at the turn of the century mixed 50 [percent] pork with 50 [percent] beef. This is a handheld burger with flavor, not the 15-inch-tall mess of calories on a plate where you have to use a spoon, a fork, a knife, and three napkins. 

Customers come to the website looking for…
help, curiosity, and flavor.

Our cooking is inspired by…
family, old world Italian cooking.

“My book is somewhat different in that it is a tutorial for handling knives, seasoning, wine pairing and popular Italian creations.” – Don Napolitano

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Serve with minestrone soup, garlic bread, Chianti wine, and side salad.


1 lb. spaghetti
1 lb. ground beef
⅓ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for serving
1 egg
2 garlic cloves
Sea salt as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ cup. chopped red onion
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves


Cook spaghetti in a large pot of salted water.

In a large bowl, combine beef with bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan, egg, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Mix until just combined, and form into 16 balls.

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides (about 10 minutes). Transfer to plate.

Add onion to pot and cook until soft (5 minutes). Add crushed tomatoes and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Return meatballs to pot and cover. Simmer until sauce has thickened (8 to 10 minutes).

Serve pasta with a scoop of meatballs and sauce. Top with parmesan.

“Thank you to Chad Dyhrkopp, district store director at Hy-Vee, for providing the use of their kitchen.” – Don Napolitano

What I loved about putting together the cookbook was…
that the book represents my accomplishments in the culinary world. In addition, I have received five national awards for my writing as an author.

My favorite recipe…
pasta shells with mushrooms in a creamy garlic parmigiano sauce, slow cooked for one hour. And add a glass of Pinot Gris. Don’t forget the crusty bread with butter and olive oil.

Something that I’m excited about is…
talking to restaurant owners and managers about adjusting their menus down to several popular items, so they can keep their doors open for business and provide the community with quality meals because of the help shortage. You can always add back when you have good help.

I love to grab a bite or drink at…
my home.

My favorite place to go for inspiration is…
movies. I saw Top Gun: Maverick six times. The movie is loaded with basic business information that will help the restaurant industry or any business: respect, determination, self reliance, leadership, chain of responsibility, and training.Someone local who I admire is… the several dedicated business owners that struggle to keep their doors open.

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