Scott’s Garbanzo Pasta

This is a Lenten/fasting pasta recipe which proved to be excellent!  Seasonings can be adjusted to taste.  I like heavy garlic and a decent amount of oils.


  • Olive Oil
  • 16 oz box penne pasta (or farfalle)
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 2 heaping tbs minced garlic
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • Italian seasoning


  1. Cook pasta according to directions on box.  About 7 minutes before pasta is ready, prepare garbanzos as instructed below.
  2. Coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat to medium.  About five minutes before pasta finishes, add garbanzos to skillet.  Shake italian seasoning over garbanzos to taste.  Shake frequently.
  3. About 3 minutes before pasta is finished, stir in green onions and sautee with garbanzos
  4. About 2 minutes before pasta is finished, stir in garlic and sautee.
  5. Drain pasta when finished and stir into skillet.  Drizzle olive oil over pasta to coat.
  6. Remove from heat quickly and serve.

Penne Alla Norcina

Cristian and I went to Italy for his high school graduation trip.  Among the many great things we discovered was this dish.  We discovered it in Spoleto and I think he ordered it at every stop thereafter.  I’ll admit I ordered it a few times as well.  The flavors are simply unlike anything we have here in the U.S.  Now I think a large part of that is the use of Umbrian sausages.  Still, this recipe, made with a mild Italian sausage is a passable replica.  It’s delicious!

Makes 4 servings


  • 16 oz. Penne Pasta
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, sliced very thin (yellow onion will substitute)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 sweet pork sausages (1 to 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon grated black truffle or 2 tablespoons prepared truffle paste or sauce (truffle cream will substitute)
  • 2 cups grated pecorino cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Boil penne in salted water until a little firmer than al dente and drain.
  2. In a pan large enough to hold all of the cooked pasta, slowly cook the onion in the olive oil over low heat, stirring, for 15 minutes or until the onion is soft, translucent and slightly golden.
  3. Remove the meat from the sausage casings, crumble into small pieces, and add to onion and oil. Turn heat up slightly. Cook, stirring, until meat is almost completely cooked through.
  4. Add white wine, turn up heat to medium and cook until wine boils off.
  5. Add cream and turn heat up to medium-high. Cook down cream for a few minutes, until it starts to thicken. Add cooked penne and combine.
  6. Pour penne and sauce into a bowl. Add grated truffle and toss with 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese. Check and correct salt and pepper. Serve, providing additional grated pecorino cheese on the side.

Pesto Sauce

Here is a simple pesto recipe.  I’ve made this twice now, using fresh basil from the garden and it is a huge hit with the kids!  They help with the basil and then the blending!


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil, separated
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 7 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor.
  2. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
  3. Slowly add the half cup of olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended.
  5. Add a round of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  6. Add remaining olive oil and pulse.

Baked Pork Chops in Tomato Sauce

I created this recipe tonight and served it up.  It was extremely well received and the kids agreed it was worth making again.  This is extremely filling!  One big plus is that this can be prepared very quickly and requires no monitoring while it bakes.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Serves 4-6


8 medium boneless pork center loin chops (1/2-3/4″ thick)
1 can tomato sauce (14 oz)
Italian seasoning
1 can Goya Pigeon Peas, drained
1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
6 slices mozarella or swiss cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese


  1. In a 9×13 baking pan, pour tomato sauce into bottom of pan and shake italian seasoning over surface.
  2. Place pork chops on sauce.
  3. Sprinkle peas evenly across pan.
  4. Place cheese over pork chops.
  5. Sprinkle bread crumbs and parmesan cheese evenly over cheese.
  6. Bake for 1 hour at 330 degrees.

Serve over spaghetti.  It will be a little saucy so spoon some sauce over the chops and onto the pasta!


Parmesan-Ricotta Cheese Sauce

This is a thick but creamy cheese sauce that is good over pasta and vegetables.

Parmesan Ricotta Cheese Sauce

  • A creamy cheese sauce great for pastas or vegetables.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes Serves: 8
    Cooking Time: 10 minutes Yield 20 tbs


  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Salt
  • 1 tsp Chicken Bullion


  1. Melt butter on Medium High
  2. Stir in flour until thoroughly blended
  3. Gradually add milk and stir until thickened
  4. Reduce heat to low
  5. Add cheeses, salt and chicken bullion cube and stir until melted
  6. Continue stirring until fully blended

Cheesy Tomato Sauce with Beef (Beefing up Store Bought Sauces!)

There are a number of tasty store bought tomato sauces for pasta.  One of my favorites is also one of the most affordable – Classico Four Cheese Tomato Sauce.  However, just pouring it over pasta rarely satisfies the kids.  With a few minutes and a little creativity, though, you can turn a store bought sauce into a really delicious pasta sauce.  I always keep a jar of generic tomato pasta sauce in the fridge.  For this recipe I used the Classico sauce and some of the generic.


  • 1/3 cup oni,ons diced
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • italian seasonings, dried
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 jar Classico Four cheese pasta sauce
  • 1/3 jar generic pasta sauce


  1. Heat olive oil in sauce pan over medium high heat
  2. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil 2-3 minutes
  3. Sprinkle Italian Seasoning to taste hile sauteeing the onions and garlic
  4. Add ground beef and cook until browned (no pink!)
  5. Do not drain!
  6. Add ricotta cheese and mix with ground beef until creamy
  7. Add in pasta sauces and stir thoroughly
  8. Cover and simmer while pasta cooks!

Alfredo Sauce

Hungry kids, frozen ground beef, not much planning ahead for dinner . . . what to do?  Decided to try a little alfredo sauce recipe and cook it up with pasta, chicken, and bacon (don’t cringe, it’s really good).  If I had thought ahead a bit, I would have added some spinach to the pasta as well.  At any rate, sauce went over big.  Here’s the recipe.

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded mozarella (could use romano, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesano  cheese
  • 2 tbs garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg (see tips below)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt butter and add flour. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to cook (but not burn) flour.  I used medium heat.
  2. Add cream and broth all at once and blend well.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until cheese has melted and sauce is smooth. Turn heat to low as cheese melts.


The sauce is ready very quickly; I actually had to thin it a bit while my pasta cooked, so plan accordingly.

I didn’t have any nutmeg (fresh or powdered).  I substituted a pinch of pumpkin pie spice and it worked like a charm.

Keep stirring!!!