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Quick, Classic Pasta Recipes

With the right pasta and the proper cooking technique, the following recipes can become a staple in any home.

Penne Alfredo with Green Peas, Basil & Sun-dried Tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cups cream
  • Kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 pound penne pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 11/2 cups Asiago or Parmesan cheese

In a large sauce pan, melt butter with cream, season with the salt and the pepper; cook till thickened. Add cooked pasta, basil, sun-dried tomatoes and green peas. Toss in cheese and cook for a few minutes to heat through peas. Makes 4 – 6 servings

Italian Wedding Soup

  • 2 cups thinly sliced escarole
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup orzo pasta, (tiny rice shaped grains of pasta)
  • 6 cups chicken stock

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon oil

In a large skillet over moderate heat, sauté escarole, chopped onion, celery, carrots, and minced clove of garlic in olive oil. Place vegetables, chicken stock and orzo in a soup kettle and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare meatballs by combining the lean ground beef, minced onion, salt, pepper, parsley, 2 minced cloves of garlic, eggs, milk, and bread crumbs. Shape into 1-inch meatballs and brown in a skillet containing one tablespoon of olive oil until they are cooked through. Drain meatballs on paper towels as they brown.

Add meatballs to the soup and simmer for 20 minutes longer. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve warm, garnished with Parmesan cheese.  Serves 8 to 10.

See related story: Pasta Basics 101

Vermicelli alla Vesuviana

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Two 24-ounce cans Italian-style tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 hot chile pepper
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • Chopped parsley
  • 8-ounces vermicelli pasta, cooked al dente

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a medium high heat and brown the garlic. Add the tomatoes with juice to the pan. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the capers, green olives and the chile pepper and continue to simmer the sauce for 15 minutes. While sauce simmers, cook the vermicelli in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and serve with the sauce and a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley.

Makes 2 entrée size servings.

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