Skillet pastas

About 3 cups of liquid to 8 ounces of raw (dried) pasta


  1. Add a little fat to the pan
  2. Sauté aromatics
  3. Deglaze with a splash of something acidic or some broth
  4. Add pasta and liquids. Stir, bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover until pasta is cooked (check time on package).
  5. Add toppings (fresh greens, nuts, cheese, etc.) and serve.


All scaled to 8 ounces of pasta, scale up/down accordingly. Salt and pepper to taste.


  • 1-2 tbsp bacon fat or lard, butter in a pinch
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 0.5 lb cooked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes - DO NOT DRAIN
  • 0.5 cup milk
  • Cajun seasoning (link), to taste
  • 0.5 cup cheese (colby jack or pepper jack) to melt on top

Baked ziti

  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 0.5 lb cooked Italian sausage (hot or mild, optional)
  • 8 oz (ish) ricotta
  • A handful or two of shredded mozzarella
  • Shredded romano, asiago, or parmesan

Cook the pasta, drain almost all of the water out. Stir in ricotta, cooked sausage, and marinara sauce. Let the starchy water make a nice sauce. Top with shredded cheese. Optionally bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes to melt the cheese.

Basil and cherry tomato

  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • Half an onion, thinly sliced (about a 1 cup)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 sprigs of fresh basil, torn (maybe more to top)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 0.25 cups white wine
  • Grated asiago, for serving

Caramelized onion

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups strong beef or vegetable broth
  • 0.5 cup heavy cream
  • 0.25 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1.5 cups shredded swiss cheese, to top
  • Panko bread crumbs, to top


  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 0.33 cup diced yellow onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 0.67 cup dry white wine
  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (this needs simmer down a lot, uncovered!)
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving

Pasta e ceci (chickpeas)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes or tomato purée
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 0.25 cups white wine
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 0.25 cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
  • 0.25 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil leaves

If you want this more “soup-y”, add more broth. 👩‍🍳

Pulled pork mac and cheese

  • 6 oz cheese
  • 1-2 drops liquid smoke
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz pulled pork
  • 1-2 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • A splash of heavy cream or pat of butter, as needed to emulsify correctly

Optional toppings

  • Panko
  • Scallions
  • Hot sauce

This is a pick-your-own adventure recipe. I tend to use sharp cheeses and a mustard BBQ sauce, which are closer to traditional “mac and cheese” flavors. Use elbow macaroni or other sturdy shape that will hold up to stirring while the cheese melts. Depending on the fat and moisture of the cheeses, a little bit of extra fat at the end (cream or butter, etc) will be needed to correct the texture of the sauce.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.