Category Archives: Pasta

Chicken, Broccoli, Pasta with cream sauce

From Natalie:

This is one of my son Jonathan’s favorite meals.  It is very tasty and can be pulled together in about 20 minutes.


  • 1 box of Farfalle pasta (14.5oz.)
  • 1 crown of broccoli
  • 1 jar of Bertolli alfredo sauce
  • 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken tenders
  • 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Canola oil

Beat the egg with 1/4 cup of milk and put into a bowl.  Put 2 cups of seasoned bread crumbs into another bowl.  (I added garlic powder to the breadcrumbs for extra flavor.)  Cut the tenders into bite size pieces.  (I put the pieces of chicken in a zippered plastic bag and hammered  them out to tenderize them.)  Put the chicken into the egg bath and then the breadcrumbs.  Cook in a frying pan with canola oil.

At the same time, steam the whole crown of broccoli.  When it is tender, cut off the tough stalks.

Boil the pasta.

I have to confess I have a double standard when it comes to sauce.  I always make a red sauce from scratch, never do I buy a jar.  I do, however, buy the white sauce in a jar.  For this recipe, I use Bertolli’s alfredo sauce.  It is delicious and enables this recipe to be pulled together quickly.

Put the pasta, broccoli and chicken into a large bowl.  Pour the sauce over everything.  (I don’t even heat the sauce because everything else is hot.) Toss.  Enjoy!


Delicious “Twist” on Fusilli Pasta

From Natalie:

Last week was my brother’s 50th birthday.  My sister-in law had a beautiful party for him at a local dinner club, complete with fabulous food stations.  My daughter was looking for some plain pasta, which the chef easily accommodated, but the complete pasta dish he made was wonderful and I asked him to walk me through it (he was making it at the station and I watched and questioned as he cooked).  Very easy but with a fresh taste that was really nice. Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of fusilli pasta (the chef used the long ones, as did I)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (fresh or jarred)
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh feta cheese

Boil the fusilli until tender and put aside.  In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the chopped garlic until brown.  Lower the heat.  Add the spinach and the tomatoes until they get warm but the spinach does not have to be completely soft.  Add the pasta to the frying pan and turn it over in the oil.  Add garlic powder to taste, if desired (I like garlic, so I added more here.)  Put the feta cheese into the mixture and turn around again until it gets warm.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Skillet Pasta Toss

From Rita:

This recipe cooks quickly.  You can plan to have it for dinner and in no time at all it will be on the table.  Total prep/cook time was about 2o minutes from start to finish.   Perfect to make on a weekend and simply warm again for an afterwork dinner with a large salad or a couple of side veggies.  Sometimes, we think we need to spend a great deal of time with foods, especially those that have an “Italian” flair,  I have found that it is not always true ~ certainly not this time!


  • 8 ounces of uncooked pasta (use elbows, bow ties, fusilli, or linguine. White or whole grain)
  • 8 ounces regular or hot Italian turkey sausages with casing removed
  • 2 cans(14.5 oz)diced Italian style diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 1- 8 0unce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto. If you do not have the basil pesto add some fresh chopped basil(1/4 cup, loosely packed) or add 1 Tbls. of dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook your pasta according to package directions ~ el dente.  Cook the sausage in a large skillet over med.-high heat till crumbled and lightly browned.  Stir in remaining ingredients in with sausage and combine well.   Drain your pasta well and add to sausage mixture and toss again to finish the dish.  Top lightly with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Please remember that freshly grated cheese is ALWAYS the best choice.  You will find that you will use less cheese and be happier.  By the way you will save many, many calories and that is always a good thing.  It is a win-win no matter how you look at it!  Don’t forget the  salad and or veggies.  Mangia’

Simple, Yummy ~ PASTA FAGIOLI

From Rita:

As most of you know I am a bean lover and eat them whenever I can as my source of protein and also because they keep satisfied for long periods of time.  This soup has a much different flavor than the Italian bean soup I have posted earlier.  I actually saw the recipe in a food magazine but adjusted it a bit to make it more flavorful.  It worked out beautifully and with winter on its way, this is definitely a comfort soup!   Please note:  If you are not a bean eater, because of the texture, simply, puree the beans in a little broth until very smooth and add to recipe.


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups small pasta( tiny bow ties)
  • 2  15oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed
  •  1  14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook until it begins to soften.  Add garlic and cook about 1 minute.  Add broth and pasta and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer till pasta is tender.  Stir in the beans and tomatoes and cook until heated through.  Remove from heat and stir in parsley.  Serve topped with parmesan.

Mac and Cheese

From Krisann:

This recipe is definately one that you will add to your favorite comfort foods.  I broke this recipe out at the request of my son who was home from college for the Thanksgiving weekend, I doubled the recipe and we are still enjoying it.  I must say that it tastes even better leftover.  I hope that you enjoy this one as much as my family does.


  • Kosher Salt
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni of cavatappi
  • 1 qt milk (I use skim)
  • 8 TBLS (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
  • 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar, grated (2 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 small fresh tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh whole wheat bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water.  Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes.  Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it.  Melt 6 TBLS of butter in a  large (4-quart) pot and add the flour.  Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.  While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute of two more, until thickend and smooth.  Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 TBLS salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.  Pour in a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.  Melt the remaining 2 TBLS of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.

Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers

From Rita:

This dish came to me from my significant other of 23 years.  David’s Italian heritage is what this dish is all about and it is the easiest, most wonderfully delicious dish that you could whip up for a quick dinner any night of the week!

I serve it with a Caprese salad (see MIXED GRILLE DINNER) and some fresh raviolis with a simple marinara sauce both of which you can purchase at your local supermarkets.

Of course, you can make your own sauce. I can recommend the traditional marinara sauce at Trader Joe’s to which I add a few italian spices and a drop of dry red wine to it to make it even tastier.  It all works to make the quickest, easiest , yummy dinner.   We hope you enjoy this dish as it is one of our longtime favorites.  Thank you, David.

  • Package of one inch or thicker boneless pork chops, or bone-in
  • 1 jar of Pastene Vinegar Peppers
  • olive oil ( not extra virgin)
  • salt & pepper
  • garlic powder
Put the oil in a large fry pan and set over high heat.  Let the pan heat up really well and add the chops and the peppers ( as many as you like).  You should hear them sizzle.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Stay at the stove and be sure to let them brown well before turning.  You also will turn the pepper pieces at this point. Once they are turned reduce the heat to medium-high.  Add a drizzle of the juice from the jar of peppers to the pan.
You may re-sprinkle the pan with  more garlic powder if you wish.
Continue cooking until you have the desired doneness.  Personally I like them to be slightly pink in the middle so they remain juicy.
You can plate them with any sides you wish.  I like to keep the Italian theme going and it has always won the hearts of those who have dined with us!   Manja

Pesto Pasta Salad

From Krisann:

If you are a pesto fan, then this is the salad for you.  This recipe came from my sister Kim, who is a very talented and creative cook.  This salad is sure to be a hit at your next cookout.  I would double this recipe to bring to a party.  Let me know what you think.


  • 1 lb Bowtie pasta
  • 1 small container Grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 container Small Mozzeralla balls
  • basil 1 bunch, about 2 cups(washed and dried)
  • 3 medium size cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan-reggiano or romano cheese
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Pesto – Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor.  (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil).  Add the garlic, pulse a few more times.  Slowly add the olive oil an a constant stream while the food processor is on.  Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.  Add the grated cheese and sugar and pulse again until blended.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.

This will make 1 cup of pesto.  (Note that pesto is always made to taste, based on the ingredients at hand. So adjust the ingredients to your taste. Most pesto recipes call for Parmesan cheese, you can use Romano which has a stronger flavor).

Then, cook pasta and drain, rinse with cold water.  In a large bowl, add the pasta and mix with the pesto.  (You will need to add some olive oil, but go easy you don’t want to add much.)  Once the pasta and the pesto are nicely mixed, add the grape tomatoes, onions and mozzeralla balls, and blend gently.  Salt and pepper to taste.   Garnish with some sprigs of fresh basil.

Bacon Pesto Farfalle Pasta

From Natalie:

A tasty twist to pesto…add bacon.  Really delicious and so easy!


  • 4-5 leaves fresh basil
  • 2 (small to medium sized) cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 4 strips of bacon (I like the fully cooked bacon, less grease)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box (14.5 oz.) Farfalle pasta
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • Fresh parmesan cheese to top it off!

Using a food processor, add the basil, garlic, oil and bacon (cooked until crispy) until blended.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Boil pasta until tender.

Add pesto to pasta and toss.  Add tomatoes, sliced.  Top with fresh grated parmesan.



From a tiny BEACH kitchen:

This salad is made with orzo,  a type of pasta shaped like a grain of rice, and is kicked up a notch with a touch of chili powder and fresh lime juice.  You can use it as a side dish but it is substantial enough to call dinner.  A cut up avocado served on the side rounds out the meal.  Meant to impress.    Bring to a party and listen to the Ooohs and Ahhhhs. 


      • 1 cup uncooked orzo
      • 1 cup frozen, whole-kernel corn, thawed and drained
      • 12 cherry or 24 grape tomatoes, quartered
      • 3 green onions, sliced
      • 1 (15 oz. ) can black beans, rinced and drained
    • Dressing:
      • 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
      • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
      • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
      • 2 tablespoons light sour cream
      • 2 tablespoons light mayonaise
      • 1 teaspoon chili powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
      • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • Optional:
      • 1 avocado, (diced to serve alongside orzo)

Cook orzo according to package directions (Do not add salt).  Rinse orzo. Drain well.

Combine orzo, tomatoes, corn, green onions and black beans in a large bowl.  Toss.

Whisk remaining ingredients in small bowl to make the dressing.  However, do not include the avocado.   Pour the dressing over orzo, corn, tomatoes, green onions in the large bowl .

Chop cilantro.  Add 2 TBSP to large bowl.  Reserve a tablespoon to sprinkle on top of individual plates.

Dice Avocado to serve alongside the orzo salad.

Note:   Can you see the slices made into the avocado pictured below?  Just a few slices in each direction with a sharp knife makes it simple to scoop out the squares of the avocado with a spoon. 

I have heard chefs say to chill your salad plates before serving.  Who can remember? 

Let me know if you added any other types of vegetables to the orzo and how you liked it? ~Sheryl 

Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2011


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