Viva DiFranco … Viva Las Vegas

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At Huckleberry Hill we are sharing a delicioso Sicilian pepper recipe. Let’s celebrate the launch of a Las Vegas variety show while gearing up for a retro good time along beautiful Monterey Bay!

La dolce vita in bella California.


Vegas By The Bay
Las Vegas on Monterey Bay

In celebration DiFranco Entertainment has shared their Sicilian ‘familgia’ recipe. Enjoy and we will see you soon at “Vegas By the Bay”! 

-Vegas By The Bay Show Information-

August 17-26

Fisherman’s Wharf Theatre-Monterey

Fri. / Sat. 7:30 p.m. Sunday 3:00 pm

$25.00 at the door

$20.00 pre-sale

$10.00 children

Portion of profits benefit local charities. This is a feel good event!

Tickets At:


Italian Peppers and Pasta

Here’s the DiFranco’s family recipe for Sicilian Peppers and Homemade Marinara served over pasta.

Start by making fresh marinara sauce. It uses all my favorites: Onions, Basil, Roma Tomatoes, and Garlic! You won’t be disappointed and you won’t need to worry about vampires after, Ha ha! (Garlic)!!!   But remember, if you embark on making your own fresh pasta sauce start with that first or you’ll have overcooked sausage and dry pasta. I’m not going to kid you, it takes a while to make. But it’s worth it!  Approx. 2 hours of cooking time and approx. 10-15 mins. for the prep.

Ingredients for fresh homemade pasta sauce:

  1. Three medium yellow onions, diced
  2.  5 pounds of fresh Roma tomatoes, cleaned, seeded and peeled (To make the peels come off easier try this little trick. Make 2     small cuts into the top of the tomato, making the shape of an X, then place it into a pot of boiling water for about 15 seconds and then quickly put it into a bowl of ice water.  Like a good spa day!  Outside skins should slide right off.)
  3.  10 fresh garlic cloves, mince finely
  4.  1/4 cup olive oil (love that Oil)
  5.  1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped finely
  6.  1 fresh sprig Oregano (should equal approx.  1/2 tsp)
  7.  1 fresh sprig Thyme (should equal approx.  1/2 tsp)
  8.  1 fresh sprig Parsley (should equal approx.  1/2 tsp)
  9.  1 whole Bay leaf (don’t cut as you will remove it after the sauce is cooked)
  10.  2 tsps. sea salt
  11.  1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  12.  1/4 cup sugar or 1/8 cup honey (optional for a sweeter tasting sauce)
  13.  1 tsp paprika (optional for a spicier sauce)


Ingredients for sausage, peppers and pasta: (by the way, I have included a pasta sauce option for those busy days when you do not have the extra 2 1/2 hours to make it from scratch. When at the store grab a jar of your favorite Marinara and Voila you’ve saved yourself a whole mess of time. It won’t be nearly as good as the homemade but I promise not to judge.  I have two young kids myself so I totally get it!


  1.  3 tsps. Olive oil
  2.  6 (4-ounce) links turkey or beef Italian sausage
  3.  1 large yellow onion (diced)
  4.  2 cups (1/4-inch strips) green bell peppers
  5.  1 cup (1/4-inch strips) red bell peppers
  6.  1 cup (1/4-inch strips) yellow bell peppers
  7.  3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  8.  1 (26-ounce) bottle of your favorite pasta sauce or (see recipe for fresh pasta sauce)
  9.  1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
  10.  6 cups Penne Pasta (cooked al dente)
  11.  2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Instructions for homemade marinara sauce:

  1. Get out your big cooking pot and pour all the olive oil inside. Set the heat to medium.
  2. Add your onions and garlic so they can sauté for around 8 mins. Stir often so they don’t burn! Once they are tender you can add in the other ingredients.
  3. Add to the pot your peeled tomatoes, chopped basil, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, sea salt and cracked pepper. Keep this on a low heat and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Now go read your favorite novel or in our family’s case go rehearse that Italian aria. Don’t forget to stir every so often!!

If after 2 hours everything looks like it is cooked down enough, you may take out the bay leaf and the sprigs of Thyme and Parsley. This would be the time to add in your honey or sugar if you desire a little sweeter sauce and the paprika if you want some kick! Add both the sweet and the kick if you want, as it’s your own personal taste that matters. Well, it’s my Italian husband’s taste that matters in our family so we add both!! He likes things sweet and spicy, just like our musical shows! You never know what your gonna get!  Hence the name “The Mistery Machine”! Now move on to the blender!

  1. Turn off the heat and set the pot aside to let it cool for about 5 mins. before you add to the blender.
  2. Pour the sauce into the blender and blend until it looks very puréed and smooth. If you like your sauce chunky you may either only blend a bit or even leave the sauce as is and leave your blender for another day. One less dish to wash! Yay!

This should yield around 8 to 10 servings of sauce depending on the size of the tomatoes and whether some of your family members eat more sauce than pasta!!  With this sauce it might not stretch as far because it’s delicious!

Again, if you decide to make your own fresh pasta sauce start with that first. No burnt sausage or dry pasta allowed!  


Directions for Sausage, Peppers, and Pasta:

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with 1 tsp of olive oil (yes more olive oil) over medium-high heat. Add the sausage to the pan then cook 8 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Remove from pan; cool slightly. Cut sausage into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  2. Place the pan back over medium-high heat and add 2 tsps. more olive oil. Add 1 diced onion and 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced. Sauté and stir for 4 mins. Then add all peppers; stir often and sauté 6 minutes. Add sausage; stir often and sauté 3 minutes.

Now it’s time to add your amazing homemade or store-bought pasta sauce, wink wink!; bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat; cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.

Finally, add mozzarella and stir until melted. Place 1 cup pasta on each plate, spoon about 1 cup sausage mixture over each serving, and sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese!

Now Enjoy. And don’t forget those dinner mints, you’re going to need them!

Lovingly from my kitchen to yours! 


Kimberly DiFranco from Monterey, California 

-La Dolce Vita in Bella California-



-Book Quality Entertainment for your Event-

DiFranco Entertainment is made up of a group of very talented singers and musicians who have been performing in a huge variety of settings for over 25 years. They have spent these years on solo endeavors as well as group projects and shows. All of the performers have done work in live theater, television, TV and radio commercials, parties of all kinds, and have formed and toured with their own bands.

If you need entertainment for any special occasion, DiFranco Entertainment can provide it and tailor it to your specific needs. Visit them at DiFrancoEntertainment.com where you can see musical excerpts of them performing various genres of music.  For more info. e-mail Kimberly & Vince DiFranco at DiFrancoEntertainment@gmail.com