Little Italy Festival Town Cookbook

The first “Little Italy Festival” in Clinton, Indiana took place on Labor Day weekend in 1966.  Many requests for an Italian cookbook came from both out-of-town visitors and local residents.  They felt it was important to record the Italian recipes that had been passed down from generation to generation, so Kappa Kappa Kappa decided to help out in collection recipes and compiling a cookbook.  

When I purchased this cookbook, I was amazed at the number of wonderful looking recipes in this book.  I was also intrigued by the pictures.  The members of Kappa Kappa Kappa visited many of the people who submitted recipes and photographed them in their kitchens making their recipes.  I love looking at the old photographs! 

Picking out a recipe from the number of tempting recipes was not easy, but I was craving pizza and decided to try a pizza recipe that was submitted by Mrs. Pesavento.  I must say, I was not disappointed in my choice of recipes.  The crust was tender and soft on the inside and crisp on the outside and the flavor was very tasty.  I made two small pizzas with my dough, but there was probably enough dough to make three small pizzas.  I normally like a thin crust, but making only two pizzas made my crust a little thicker than I like, but I still think the pizza was excellent!  Please note that I followed the dough recipe exactly, but used Vince’s pizza sauce recipe, along with Italian sausage, pepperoni, green bell peppers, Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of oregano as my toppings. 



1 cup milk

1 cup hot water

1 tablespoon shortening

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons sugar

2 ½ teaspoons salt

1 cake yeast (I used 2 packages of dry yeast)

½ cup warm water

6 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Pizza Toppings:

1 pound cooked Italian sausage or 1 can anchovy filets

1 can Hunts Seasoned Tomato sauce

1 pound brick cheese or any soft cheese, thinly sliced

Grated Parmesan cheese

Garlic powder


Scald 1 cup of milk and then add 1 cup of hot water.  Pour hot milk mixture over shortening, butter, sugar and salt.  In a separate bowl, dissolve yeast cake in ½ cup warm water. When milk mixture is lukewarm, combine it with the dissolved yeast.  Sift 6 ½ cups of flour.  Add 3 cups of the sifted flower and mix for one minute with a stand mixer with bread hook.  Then add remaining 3 ½ cups flour.  Toss the dough onto a clean, floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until dough is elastic and smooth and does not adhere to the board.  If it does, add a little more flour.  Place dough into a large bowl that has been greased with olive oil and cover with a clean dish cloth.  Allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 to 1 ½ hours.  Knead again and let rise again for 1 ½ hours.  Grease three large rectangle pans and line them with the dough, pressing and stretching the dough to fit the pans.  Allow to rise 1 hour in pans.  Top dough with sauce, sausage, and cheeses.  Sprinkle a little garlic powder and oregano on top, to taste.  Bake in preheated oven at 425F for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. 

Buono Appetito!



Filed under cookbook

7 responses to “Little Italy Festival Town Cookbook

  1. Cyn

    What a great blog! Love the name and can’t wait to try some of your recipes!!!!

  2. louie c

    we have lost our cookbook. we are looking for the zucchini pie recipe that is made with vanilla wafers. also, where can I get another cookbook.

  3. Roxanne Greco

    We have lost our cookbook also. Is there a way to purchase one or get a copy of it?

  4. Kenneth Cox

    My father-in-law, Gene Flowers, was a Pen & Ink artist of some note in Southern, IL. He received a copy of the 1966 cook book from someone living in the Festival area as a thank you for his artwork. He made several dishes out of that cookbook which we all loved. Unfortunately he passed away and that particular cookbook disappeared??? Do you know if or how we can get a copy of that original cookbook??? We love all the dishes he prepared but especially the Stewed chicken and polenta! yum – yum

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