A Sampras' Family Favorite

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What do you get when a beautiful Hollywood actress marries one of the greatest athletes in history? Well, it results in a busy household with two active young sons!

You know Bridgette Wilson-Sampras from her roles in movie hits like "Billy Madison" and "The Wedding Planner" and tons of TV shows.

Married to tennis great Pete Sampras, she is no stranger to balancing hectic home and professional schedules.

Always looking for ways to simplify her life, she has teamed up with Barilla to share her top three tips for cooking with kids, including new options like Barilla's line of "Piccolini" miniature pasta, created just for children.

Look for Bridgette co-starring with Ving Rhames in the upcoming movie "Phantom Punch," directed by Robert Townsend, about the life of boxer Sonny Liston.

For more easy recipes and ideas for the entire family, visit www.Scholastic.com/Barilla.

All children seem to love pasta. And what sauces do your children enjoy best?

"I am really fortunate in that my boys are both great eaters! Our family loves pasta, and we recently discovered Barilla Piccolini. It has a quick cook-time, and it comes in bite-sized shapes that are perfect for kids. They will eat pasta with vegetables, fish, chicken -- you name it. My boys enjoy simple sauces like Bolognese, butter and Parmesan cheese, or Alfredo.

And the top tips for cooking with children?

"Take them shopping and let them pick out a few ingredients, and look for kid-friendly options. Assign them small tasks when you're preparing the meal. My boys help me measure ingredients. You can also have kids mix and stir or garnish a dish. And stick to a schedule. Try to serve dinner at the same time a few days a week or create a family dinner night for the same day each week so family mealtime becomes part of your routine."

A secret snack that Pete loves:

"Unsulfured sweetened dried mango."

You were raised in Oregon. Was cooking a tradition in the family?

"My family loves to cook. In fact, I learned just about everything from my mother, grandmother and my great-grandmother. To this day, I call them in the middle of cooking to ask their advice when I'm not sure what to do. We always ate together as a family, and that is why it has become so important in my house today. A staple for us growing up was pasta with the family Bolognese sauce, and my grandma's famous desserts like apple pie. Of course, I plan to continue to pass these recipes on to my children. You can't break traditions!"

A kitchen gadget you wish someone would invent:

"It would be cool to find a gadget that peels and cuts mangos and pineapples. They are so hard to cut."

It's pizza night at home. Does everyone agree on the toppings?

"Everyone agrees on toppings! We love cheese pizzas with the occasional addition of pepperoni."

MINI FARFALLE WITH TOMATOES AND CORN

1 box Barilla Piccolini Mini Farfalle

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly

2 pounds plum tomatoes (may substitute one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes)

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 can (15.5 ounces) corn, drained

1 1/2 cups cooked broccoli florets, chopped finely

1/2 cup of cream (optional)

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

4 leaves basil, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

First, place tomatoes in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds to blanch. Peel the skin, remove the seeds and chop. In a medium skillet, saute onion in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Cook pasta according to package directions. Add tomatoes and simmer for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add corn and broccoli and saute for two minutes. Add cream, if using, and bring sauce back up to a simmer. Drain pasta and toss with sauce. Stir in cheese, basil and parsley before serving.

(Recipe courtesy of Barilla and Bridgette Wilson-Sampras.)

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