Category Archives: PASTA

Comfort Pasta Tomato Soup

3 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cups small shell pasta
1 tsp salt kosher salt
1 1/2 rehydrated penzeys chopped garlic or 1 1/2 clove fresh garlic minced
1/4 tsp pepper penzeys ground pepper
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 can diced tomato in basil, garlic, oregano
6 cups chicken stock (I use penzeys chicken base)
2 sprigs fresh thyme (whole)
2 bay leaves (penzeys, they hold their shape better during a long simmer process)
6 ounces frozen spinach
2 cups water
2 cups shredded jack cheese

Add Olive Oil to hot stock pot. Add pasta shells and toss to coat completely with the olive oil over med heat. Add salt and pepper and sauté pasta shells stirring often, do not let burn. When pasta shells start turning brown, add garlic and sauté 1 more minute, do not let garlic burn. Add tomato sauce and cook another 2 minutes. Cooking the tomato sauce this way seems to give a deep roasted flavor. Add chopped tomatoes and continue cooking another two minutes.

Your base is now rich and delish tasting!

Add chicken stock, bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Bring to a light boil and reduce to simmer covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 cups of water and simmer another 20 – 25 minutes uncovered.

Add spinach and simmer another 10 minutes or so, until pasta is plump and fully cooked! Taste and add a dash of salt if needed.

Remember, the pasta is not cooked when you start this dish so the long simmer time not only develops rich flavor, it is necessary to cook the pasta.

Serve in soup bowl and top with shredded cheese.

Sonia's Pork Loin Ragu Recipe

2 pounds pork loin
1 28oz of can crushed tomatoes
1 jar marinara sauce
1 large large yellow onion
8 garlic cloves cut into small pieces or smashed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 bag of big pasta like pappardelle or rigatoni
grated italian cheese

Season pork with salt and pepper. In a soup pot heat oil over medium high . Sear pork for 4 minutes each side. Set aside. Add the onions, garlic, rosemary and cook stirring for 3 minutes. Add marinara sauce, tomatoes with juices, stir scrapping the bottom of the pot. Return pork to the pot, cover and cook for 2.5 hours over medium low. Remove the pork, shred with a fork and put back in the pot. Add cinnamon. Simmer for few minutes. Server over pasta with grated italian cheese on top. Serves 8

*A friend from Beverly Hills had this dish at one of her fabu dinner parties. This is my version and is so GOOD!

Sonia's Tuscan Inspired Pomodoro or Tomato Pasta Sauce

1 can crushed italian tomatoes or 2 cups of ripe tomatoes cut into pieces
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 minced garlic cloves
1/2 red onion cut into small pieces
2 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded basil
fresh parmesan cheese to garnish

*serve with your favorite pasta or just dipping bread

Heat pan over medium high, saute onion, garlic with some salt. Cook for about five minutes and then add tomatoes and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes and lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Removed from heat, add the fresh basil leaves and balsamic vinegar and mix. Top with cheese and serve with pasta or bread. Serves 6

*This recipe was inspired by my trip to Tuscany last summer.

Sonia's Easy Pasta

1 box of your favorite pasta y usually use whole grain
1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (no substitutions)
3 roma tomatoes cut into small pieces about 16 pieces per tomato
1 tablespoon dried onions
3 tablespoon tomato paste
6 basil leafs cut into pieces or 2 tablespoon dried
1/4 cup aged balsamic
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon red pepper (optional) Spicy!
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Boil water and cook pasta for 8 minutes. Drain pasta leaving some water in the pot. Return pasta to the pot, add rest of ingredients, stir and continue to cook cover on medium for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover and let it sit for 4 minutes or until serving time. Serve 6-8.

*This recipe was created one day that I was in a hurry for a side dish. Even do it takes almost no time I highly recommended!

Cindi's BLT Pasta

In my craving for flavor, sometimes I just mix flavor together and hope it works!  In this case it did.  My family really enjoyed this dish.  It had something for everyone and when my son came through the door as I was cooking last night…. he excitedly said …. “I smell Bacon!”…What’s for dinner?  My original concept included home made pasta, I was thinking back to a dish from Rome.  To this day that dish was perhaps one of the most scrumptious meals I have ever tasted.  Simple, yet scrumptious, as I found all the meals in Italy.  This dish was made of  thinly pressed pasta in strips about  1 1/2 inches wide and 5 inches or so inches long.  It was covered in roasted baby tomatoes.  It had a very rustic appeal.  Well, my day ran longer than I expected and I found myself going for the packaged pasta.  This dish was still super scrumptious.  I hope you find yourself with a little time available some day and make your own pasta.  It is surprisingly easy … a bit messy… but the the flavor and consistency is to die for!

If you find yourself in Rome, (and I hope you do) try this amazing restaurant, Target.  In the Heart of Rome, two blocks or so from the St. Regis Hotel, you will not be disappointed!



1 1/2 lb Baby Heirloom Tomatos

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp Penzeys garlic powder

1 tsp Penzeys Mural of Flavor salt free seasoning  (this is a new flavor from Penzeys)

6 oz apple wood smoked lardons (cooked crispy)

12 oz penne pasta (or if you have time… make your own pasta!)

3 oz herb salad mix

pinch of salt and pepper – if needed

Optional: Poached eggs and shaved parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425

Add tomatoes to baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle garlic powder and Mural of Flavor seasoning.  Toss to coat. Roast tomatoes about 12 – 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, add tomatoes and all of their delish juices into a deep large sauté pan.

Bring heavily salted (kosher salt or if you have it sea salt) water to boil and add pasta.  The salt in the water will season your pasta.  I always hear the water in which you  boil pasta should taste of the sea!  So, taste your water!  This trick really does make a difference in the flavor of your pasta.

While tomatoes are roasting and water is coming to a boil,  crisp your lardons.  When crispy, remove from pan and place onto paper towels.  This helps to remove the additional bacon fat.  Set aside.

When pasta is ready, and I find this to be to ones own taste ( I don’t like my pasta al dente, I like it cooked a bit more)…Shock!  Reserve a cup of the starchy boiling water and keep to the side, drain pasta.  Add drained pasta to the large sauté pan with tomatoes and mix together over medium heat.   If your pasta is dry and you need a bit of liquid, use the pasta water.  Add in the herb salad mix and stir to incorporate into the pasta dish.  This will slightly wilt and cook the herb salad and add the delish flavors of the herbs!  Now is the time to taste and add a sprinkle of salt if needed.

Serve with bacon sprinkled on top and a couple pieces of crusting.

Optional- Poached eggs and Parmesan top.  I personally like poached eggs on pasta.  I started doing this a long time ago…I think because I love poached eggs!  And, who doesn’t like their pasta with parm???

4 – 6 servings


Chicken Lasagna – Recipe

9 pieces lasagna pasta
2 pound of boiled in salt water and shredded chicken breast
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
5 basil leaves cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 jar marinara sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped white onion
4 green olives cut into small pieces
5 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 green pepper cut into thin half moon pieces
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste