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Carrie Varrone of Plainview

Plainview, NY: Thursday, October 21, 2010--- Carrie Varrone,

Plainview, NY: Thursday, October 21, 2010--- Carrie Varrone, poses with her noodle pudding for a Who's Cooking feature. Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan Photo Credit: Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan

A teacher's aide in the Syosset school system, she also drives a school bus. The mother of three daughters, ages 28, 25 and 17, she lives with her husband, Michael, in Plainview.

How did you get interested in cooking? When I was growing up, our best meal was pizza. So I promised myself when I got married I would learn to be a good cook. You can either emulate what you see or do a 180.

What's your favorite thing to cook? I've been collecting recipes for 30 years. For a while, I thought about putting together my own cookbook. I make my own appetizers, main courses, soups. I also like to bake - I make a good pound cake, mandelbrot. We do a lot of entertaining - that's pretty much what I do.

Have you got a favorite cuisine? I like to be creative and try different things. But a favorite? I guess I would have to say Italian. Who doesn't like Italian food?

What about kitchen equipment? Is there anything you couldn't cook without? My kitchen is kind of basic: a good fry pan, an old-fashioned mixing bowl. You don't need all those fancy-schmancy things to be a good cook. It's really about the ingredients.

What about the noodle pudding recipe? Where did it come from? My next-door neighbor always made it, and I always make it for Thanksgiving.

Do you have a favorite restaurant? Giulio Cesare, in Westbury.

NOODLE PUDDING

1 pound broad egg noodles

1 stick margarine

1/2 cup golden raisins

3 tablespoons sour cream

3/4 cup sugar

2 small boxes vanilla pudding mix (not instant)

2 cups cottage cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup milk

Ground cinnamon, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large pot, boil egg noodles until cooked. Drain well. Return noodles to cooking pan, and while noodles are still piping hot, add margarine and mix until melted.

3. Add all remaining ingredients except cinnamon and mix well.

4. Turn into a baking dish, sprinkle the top with cinnamon, and bake for 1 hour. Makes 12 side-dish servings.

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