Category Archives: Pasta

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

What up people?, I’m back! Intended to take the summer off from blogging, but turned into half the fall too, my bad. No worries though, I had my sidearm locked and loaded to capture any impromptu cooking.

For a little summer reading I picked up, A Tuscan in the Kitchen: Recipes and Tales from My Home. Helped reinforce the idea that cooking is about creativity and the freedom to improvise, not necessarily exactness – unless you’re whipping up a souffle or something. So here’s to less measurements and more freedom, just don’t burn the garlic!

Moving on…let’s talk about this pasta dish I whipped up the other night. It just so happened that I had a ridiculous amount of cherry tomatoes lining my windowsill, ready to be used, and basil overflowing in the garden.

Let’s get to it.

Printable Recipe:

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

ripe cherry tomatoes – slice in half – toss into a baking dish

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

tear up all of the fresh basil – toss half in with tomatoes

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

add in olive oil, sherry wine, garlic, s&p – mix it all up

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

roast @ 450F for about 30 mins – stir a few times  so nothing burns

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

spaghetti will take about 5-7mins,  cook pasta when tomatoes are almost done

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

when tomatoes finish leave in roasting dish and toss in remainder of fresh basil and a handful of pecorino romano – drain pasta – save 1C pasta water – scoop pasta in roasting dish – mix it all up – you want it saucy, so if dry add in pasta water a lil at a time

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati
mix well – you wanna get all the sauce stuck on the pasta – serve with more pecorino romano and fresh cracked black pepper – if you have an aversion to tomato skin than pulse the sauce when it’s finished in a food processor or put it through a food mill – don’t ever say I didn’t try to help…

enjoy, this pasta is muy yum


Mezzi Rigatoni Tossed w/ Sausage, Grape Tomatoes, and Fresh Mozzarella

Leftover ingredients + forced creativity = awesome unexpected dinner. I had sausage from the Scarpariello frozen and fresh mozzarella + sauce leftover from pizza Friday night. Plus, I wanted to use some of the goodies that I made recently like chicken stock and roasted peppers. A little kitchen alchemy and viola a new dish is born!

Prep time: 5mins
Cook time: 15mins

Get yourself:

  • 1lb Sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1lb Mezzi Rigatoni
  • 2C Tomato sauce
  • 2C Fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1C Roasted peppers, drained, rinsed, sliced into strips
  • 2C Grape tomatoes
  • 1C Chicken broth
  • 6 Cloves roasted garlic, mashed or 3 cloves fresh minced
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 1T Capers, non-salted
  • 1T Dry oregano
  • 1T Chopped parsley
  • 1t Garlic powder
  • 1t Asian Chili-Garlic sauce
  • 1t Smoked paprika
  • S&cracked pepper

Printable Recipe

Split open the casing and pull out the goodness

Mix it up so there aren’t any big chunks and give this a rough chop

Heat the oil and garlic over medium-high for ~2mins

Toss in the sausage and brown

Once you have some nice caramelization on the sausage…

Sprinkle on your smoked paprika

Toss in the whole grape tomatoes

These little guys are great; they burst in your mouth while eating

A little special effects for the dinner table

Add in the roasted peppers and capers and saute for ~1min

Your pasta should be in the water by now…

For the sauce…

Add in tomato sauce, chicken broth, oregano, and s&p…

…and if you want some heat add in……some chili garlic sauce

Believe me when I tell you a little goes a LONG way

This stuff is badass; you can pick it up at Shop Rite in the ethnic food aisle

Stir it all up

Bring to a boil for ~2mins

Reduce to simmer for ~10mins

Sauce should have thickened a bit

Taste and adjust for seasoning (add in the garlic powder if you feel it needs it)

Drain pasta and add back to pot

Place over medium-low flame

Quickly toss in your fresh mozzarella, parsley, and stir it all up

Mozz will begin to melt

Keep stirring

Scoop some of that oozy, cheesy deliciousness into a bowl

It’s like a festival of goodness happening on the plate and in your mouth…

…little grape tomatoes burst sweet juice that balances out the brine and tang of the capers, as well as the saltiness of the sausage…

…creamy, silky, melty, oozy fresh mozzarella bonds everything together…

…mezzi rigatoni’s large empty cavity is like a basket that fills up with goodness…

…smoked paprika gives the dish a great smokey earthiness and the chili sauce heats it all up…

…you’re gonna have to taste it for yourself…


Escarole & Beans

Escarole and beans is an Italian classic, except in my house it’s more like–‘shcarole and beans. Escarole, for those not familiar with it, is like something between romaine lettuce and Bok Choy…it’s really good, I promise.  This is the type of soup where you sop up the juices with a big ol’ chunk of crusty artisan bread and then go back for more. It’s all good though because it’s healthy, and we like healthy…sometimes.

Serves: ~6-8
Total time: ~30mins

Get yourself:

  • 2 Heads escarole
  • 2 Cans or 4 cups Cannellini beans (drained)
  • 2 Cloves fresh garlic (If only using fresh, 5 cloves sliced thin)
  • 8 Cloves roasted garlic (If you haven’t roasted garlic yet, now might be the time)
  • 1 Can plum tomatoes
  • 1 C Chicken broth (Pacific Organic; it has great flavor)
  • 1 C Beef broth (Same brand as chicken)
  • 1 C reserved tomato juice
  • 1 C Water
  • .5 C Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5t Kosher salt
  • 1t Black pepper
  • 1 Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • .5 Box Ditalini pasta
  • Pecorino Romano for the finish

The most laborious part of this dish is cleaning the escarole. Seriously, I don’t know what it is with this stuff but it’s like it gets sprayed with dirt before it’s shipped out. Fill your sink with cold water, discard discolored and broken leaves, and toss into the water. Swoosh it all around to loosen the dirt and rinse each leaf.

Fill a big ass pot with ~2″ water, break up your escarole and toss in

Bring flame to medium heat and cover

Escarole will wilt down…

…and shrink, a lot!

Drain in a colander and if you have a spinner then spin some of the water off

Prep your garlic

Don’t you dare skimp on the garlic…

and seriously, if you haven’t roasted garlic yet, you should…

the mellow roasted garlic flavor disperses throughout the broth and makes the dish 10x better

Add the red pepper, fresh, and mashed roasted garlic to the olive oil

Saute for a couple mins over medium heat

While the garlic does its thing…

Grab those tomatoes and drain the juice off into a bowl

Crush tomatoes by hand while dodging the juice that squirts out

Toss the escarole and tomatoes into the pot and stir

Sprinkle a little of that salt and pepper on

Add in all of your broth, tomato juice, and water

Break open your beans

If you’re a bean connoisseur and prefer fresh beans, well, that’s your problem…

The canned ones are perfect and probably even preferable in this dish

Drain the bean juice

Toss ’em in

Stir it up

Add the rest of the salt and pepper

Taste, say mmmmmmm…

Bring to a simmer for ~10 mins

Add 1/2 a box of Ditalini pasta directly to the soup

Raise flame to medium and let pasta cook for ~10mins or until al dente

Taste for salt and pepper

Don’t add garlic powder, please.

There she is ladies and gentlemen…

‘Scharole and beans

Top with freshly grated Pecorino Romano and cracked black pepper

Tear off a fat chunk of Italian bread

Sit at the table in a white v-neck tee and mangia!

In the words of my girl Lidia Bastianich…

“Everyone (come) to the table, to eat”

p.s. there’s plenty of leftovers if you’re only two people…

Pasta Brittanesca

I know, I can hear you now, “Oh how sweet, he named a dish after his wife!”

You see, this dish started out as a Puttanesca and then I flipped it on its head. So I had to come up with a new name and since wifey absolutely loved this dish (she went for seconds AND brought leftovers to work!) I decided, well see for yourself…

“Wow, this is really good. Where you get the recipe? That Pioneer cowboy lady your obsessed with?!”

“Uh, no. This is my recipe, thank you very much.”

“Ok, well it’s really good, you should put this one on your blog.”

“Thanks. Don’t know what to call it though. Pasta with artichoke hearts?”

“Eh, too boring”

“Are you seriously going for a second bowl now?! Damn, I guess you really do like it.”

“I told you it was really good; I don’t lie.”

“Sweet, I’m naming it after you than.”

“How about…Pasta Brittanesca?”


Get yourself:

2 cups artichoke hearts in oil

2T capers, not salted OR Kalamata olives

6 Cloves roasted garlic mash

1 28oz can diced tomatoes without juice

1C  grated Pecorino Romano

.5C Chardonnay

3T Butter

1T Parsley

1lb Mezze Rigatoni Pasta

Salt + Cracked

Ok, first things first, bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cover

Let it be…

Heat up a skillet over medium flame with 2T butter and oil

When foam subsides add your garlic mash, stir together, and saute a bit

Rough chop the artichoke hearts

Toss into the skillet with the capers, stir,  and saute for a min

Bring that flame up to high…

Add in your Chardonnay and burn off the devil for a min

Drop flame to medium

Cook your pasta

Drain off the juice from those tomatoes and dump into skillet

Simmer for 5 mins

Crack some pepper over this

Toss in a cup of grated Pecorino and 1T butter, stir

Once pasta is done, drain then add back to pot it was boiled in

And a little sauce to pot and stir

Now, take enough pasta for each serving and add to skillet with sauce

Stir real good

Add some fresh parsley

Taste, adjust for salt + cracked

You can add some fresh basil too if you’d like. Can’t go wrong.

You’re ready to plate

Sprinkle on some Pecorino and eat up, it’s really good…

Brittany says so, dammit!


Use Kalamata olives in place of capers

Use some fresh basil chiffonade

3 cloves fresh garlic vs roasted

Toss with angel hair, linguine fini, or any other pasta that holds sauce well

Make a pizza with the sauce instead (just reduce sauce a bit so it’s thick enough for a pizza)

Would probably even taste good served as a cold pasta salad with some chunks of fresh mozz

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup, actually, has nothing to do with weddings. The name was born out of a misunderstanding of the Italian translation minestra maritata–married soup, referring to the joining together of meat and veggies. It might not have anything to do with weddings, but HOLY Mary, Jesus, and Joseph is this soup good. Mazel Tov. I’m talking, you’re halfway through the bowl and realize your almost done and say to yourself, “slow down” kinda good.

I drew inspiration for my version of Italian Wedding Soup from Ina Garten and memories of meals past. I decided to make some significant tweaks which, from the sounds and expressions coming from my Wife and friend Mike, lead me to believe were successful.

This soup is hearty, healthy, and perfect on a cold winter evening. Serve up with a generous sprinkle of grated Pecorino Romano, a couple twists of the ‘ol pepper mill, some crusty bread, and a big glass of vino!

–Recipe Pictorial–

Here I use the cross hatch technique for dicing onions, pronto

Mash your roasted garlic into a paste

Add to your EVOO+butter

Sauté 1 min

Then throw in your chopped carrots, onion, and celery and sauté for 10 mins covered. Stir after 5

Veggies will be tender

Now, add all of your stock and wine

Bring to a boil for 1 min. Reduce to simmer

Then, add the tomatoes. Crush with back of wooden spoon in pot

Toss in your bay leaf and tomato paste, stir

Now’s a good time to add s&p, taste

After tasting decide if you need a lil garlic powder

Simmer for 10mins, uncovered

Toss in a bunch of those lil round meatballs and stir

Cook for, you guessed it, 1min

Now, dump carefully add pasta to hot simmering broth and cook to al dente, about 6 mins

Stir! Or pasta will stick to bottom of pot

Pasta will thicken the soup. Add a little water to thin

Hey, I said it was hearty

Go nuts with the spinach, add as much or as little as you want

Simmer until spinach wilts, don’t over cook it

Taste and adjust for seasoning

I added a little salt and more crushed black pepper at this point

Go grab some nice deep bowls and plate

I garnished with grated Pecorino, fresh parsley, and more crushed black pepper

Scoop, moan, exclaim your love for me…repeat.

When you here the sound of silverware hitting porcelain, Go for seconds!


4C Beef Broth

4C Chicken Broth (I use Pacific Organic from Costco for both broths)

1C Chopped carrots (I used baby carrots. I have a giant bag. Note- don’t buy carrots at Costco)

1C Yellow onion diced

2 Celery stalks

8 Cloves roasted garlic OR 3-4 cloves minced fresh garlic

1 28oz can San Marzano plum tomatoes

1T Tomato paste

1/4t garlic powder

1 Bay leaf

2t Kosher salt

2T EVOO + 1T Butter

1/4 C Dry Sherry cooking wine

1lb Ditalini pasta

1/2 Bag chicken and sweet basil meatballs (Costco) or make a quick batch of little meatballs and bake

1 Bag baby spinach

Chopped fresh parsley

Pecorino Romano

Crushed black pepper

Crushed red pepper (optional)

This soup is hearty, healthy, and perfect on a cold winter evening. Serve up with a generous sprinkle of grated Pecorino Romano, a couple twists of the ‘ol pepper mill, some crusty bread, and a big glass of vino!

Macaroni & Broccoli

Here’s a classic to kick things off. Pasta dressed with broccoli sautéed in olive oil perfumed with fresh & roasted garlic and simmered in a light broth with white wine and crushed red pepper. Topped with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and served with a crisp cold glass of Chardonnay. Off the hook! Food porn pics below.

Get about 6 cloves of garlic – 3 fresh/3 roasted and smash. No dice!

Toss the garlic in and saute in about 2T evoo and 1T butter until fresh garlic starts to brown.

Don’t burn!

Once nicely browned, remove from oil and set aside.

When cool dice ’em up and you have garlic crunchies.


Drink add 1/2 cup good quality white vino and 1 cup chicken broth.

Bring it to a boil real quick to burn off the devil. Reduce to moderate heat.

Toss in about 4 cups steamed broccoli florets and stir.

(Oh and if you haven’t done this already, boil a pot of salted H20 for your pasta)

Stir in a couple tablespoons of grated Parmesan.

Taste broth and add s&p and/or garlic powder.

Hover and inhale pure goodness.

Add about a ladle full of pasta water. Taste broth and adjust for seasoning.

(I usually add a little Parmesan, kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder @ this pt.)

Go ahead and begin plating with a little broccoli on bottom.

When pasta is Al Dente add to bowl.

And top off with more broccoliciousness.

Sprinkle with garlic crunchies, Parmesan, crushed red pepper, and drizzle a little evoo.

Now go for thirds seconds!

Healthy(er) Variation:

Substitute regular pasta for whole grain or rice pasta.

Use a low sodium chicken broth

Add cubed plain chicken before you add broccoli and simmer until cooked. Then go ahead with recipe.

Take it easy with the grated cheese.

Set up an electric fence around the leftovers.