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Penne for Your Thoughts

Pasta is one of those forever foods that survive the tides of trends. It’s cozy and delicious and will never go out of style. Because it’s always pasta night somewhere, we felt it apropos to gather our tried-and-true classics for you to sample. Just boil up a pot and enjoy!

Easy Ziti

This is my easy, no-fail baked ziti recipe. I make it every year for my family’s Motzaei Shabbos Chanukah party. I put all the ingredients into the pan right after Shabbos, place it in the oven, and have it ready, fresh out of the oven, when my guests start to arrive.


  • 1 16-oz (450-g) pkg raw pasta
  • 1 26-oz (740-g) jar pasta sauce
  • 13 oz milk
  • 13 oz water
  • 8 oz shredded cheese, divided

Place pasta in 9x13-inch (23x33-cm) pasta pan. Add pasta sauce. Fill half of the empty pasta sauce jar with milk and the other half with water, and pour it into the pan.

Add 34 of the cheese. Mix well with a spoon. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cover and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 1 hour and 15 minutes.


—Goldie Fogel, administration

Deluxe Stuffed Shells

Recipe from Dining In

I make this recipe all the time!


  • 1 12-oz (340-g) pkg jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to pkg directions
  • 16 oz (450 g) mozzarella cheese
  • 16 oz (450 g) ricotta or farmer cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 28-oz (790-g) can tomato sauce
  • 1 28-oz (790-g) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 cube frozen garlic

Mix cheeses with eggs until thoroughly combined. Handling the cooked shells very gently, fill with cheese mixture. Close the open edge of the shells and place face down in a pan.

To prepare the sauce, mix all ingredients thoroughly. Pour over the stuffed shells. Cover tightly and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 1 hour.

—Chavi Feldman, recipe columnist

Pasta Bake

This pasta bake is a regular in our house. My husband grew up eating it for supper every Wednesday, and it’s his favorite comfort food for all occasions.


  • 1 16-oz (450-g) pkg pasta, cooked according to pkg directions
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1½ cups of milk
  • 3 oz (85g) shredded Cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 6-oz (170-g) can tuna, drained (optional)
  • 4 oz (110 g) mushrooms, sliced and fried in butter (optional)

Heat the butter and flour, stirring constantly to avoid bubbles. When it forms a paste, add the milk, cheese, salt, and pepper and mix for a few minutes until it thickens. Add tuna or mushrooms, if desired, stirring until warmed through. Pour the sauce over cooked pasta.

To upgrade this dish, pour it all into a pan, sprinkle extra cheese on top, and bake for 20 minutes at 350°F (175°C) or until the cheese is bubbly.

—Libby Livshin, administration

Pad Thai

The combination of sweet-and-sour and heat brings a typical Thai flavor profile to this stir-fry.


  • 1 8.8-oz (250-g) pkg thin rice noodles, cooked according to pkg directions
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chili paste
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ head napa cabbage, shredded
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • handful cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish

Drizzle noodles with sesame oil to prevent them from sticking; set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, simmer tamarind, lime juice, brown sugar, chili paste, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes.

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until soft. Add salt; stir mixture for 2 minutes. Add garlic and napa cabbage; sauté until soft.

Push vegetables to one side of the skillet. Add eggs; scramble until just done. Toss scrambled eggs with vegetables. Add bean sprouts and cook until they begin to soften.

Add cooked noodles and tamarind mixture to the pan. Stir until vegetables and noodles are evenly coated. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve, sprinkling each dish with peanuts and garnishing with cilantro and lime wedges.

—Naomi Nachman, columnist


I rarely make pasta, but sometimes I make this orzo. It’s easy and yum and good as a side for chicken or roast.


  • 1 16-oz (450-g) box orzo, prepared according to pkg directions, rinsed and drained
  • 1½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1–2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • dash pepper
  • ½ tsp grated lemon rind (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Combine oil, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon rind, if using, and parsley, in a bowl. Add orzo and mix.

—Barbara Bensoussan, columnist

Chinese Noodles

This pasta dish gets rave reviews every time I serve it. Because it uses a few pots and takes some time, I don’t make it unless there’s an occasion. But when my family gets a whiff that I’m making it, they come running. I never have leftovers!


  • 1 16-oz (450-g) pkg medium noodles, cooked according to pkg directions
  • 2–3 Tbsp oil
  • 2–3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 green peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 4-oz (110-g) can mushrooms, or about 4 oz (110 g) fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • scant ½ cup soy sauce (low-sodium is fine)
  • 2 tsp sugar (I prefer light brown, but white is okay)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 level Tbsp onion soup mix
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed, or 8 cubes frozen garlic

Heat oil in a pan and sauté vegetables for 15 minutes, or until tender crisp. They shouldn’t be too soft. Gently mix sautéed veggies with the noodles.

To prepare the sauce, cook all ingredients until they’re completely blended together.

Mix the sauce together with the noodle mixture and serve.

Note: This dish can be frozen very successfully. If you want to freeze it, sauté the veggies for less time, as they will soften when defrosted. Reheat it covered and uncover for the last few minutes so any unwanted liquid will evaporate. Also, if it’s too spicy for your family’s taste, put less garlic and soy sauce. Just remember that this is supposed to be a very seasoned dish.

Tip: To cut down on the oil, sauté the veggies with cooking spray, and halfway through sautéing, add the water from the canned mushrooms for liquid so they don’t stick to the pan and get somewhat cooked.

—Brynie Greisman, recipe columnist

Easy Cheesy Pesto Pasta

Faigy Grossman’s Easy Cheesy Pesto Pasta is one of my favorites. I make it often for weeknight suppers. It’s just as easy as its name indicates, but it’s not a boring mac-and-cheese. I never add the sunflower seeds, and I often add the tomatoes to the onions instead of at the end.


  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 16-oz (450-g) pkg penne pasta
  • 4 cubes frozen basil, or 4 tsp dried basil
  • 4 cubes frozen garlic
  • 1½ tsp salt, or to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz (110 g) shredded cheese
  • 3 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • sunflower seeds, for garnish (optional)

Sauté onion in oil in a large pot until golden; transfer to a mixing bowl. Fill the pot with water and cook pasta according to pkg directions. While the pasta is cooking, add basil, garlic, salt, and pepper to the sautéed onions and stir to combine. Drain pasta and return to pot.

Over low heat, add cheese to the pot and stir until melted. Add onion-spice mixture and mix until well combined. Stir in tomato halves until heated through. Remove from heat and garnish with sunflower seeds.

—Chaya Baila Leiber, copy editor


Here’s an incredible lasagna recipe. The cream sauce takes it up to the next level! Shout-out to Freidy Kagan for introducing this recipe to our family. We’ll never be able to go back to the standard!


  • lasagna noodles
  • grated mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup water
Red Sauce
  • 4 8-oz (225-g) cans tomato sauce
  • 4 8-oz (225-g) cans water
  • drizzle olive oil
  • pizza spice, paprika, cumin, salt, sugar, oregano, pepper, granulated garlic, and basil, to taste
Cottage Cheese Layer
  • 3 8-oz (225-g) containers cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • granulated garlic, to taste
Béchamel Sauce
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • nutmeg, salt, and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients for the red sauce and set aside.

Mix all ingredients for the cottage cheese layer and set aside.

To prepare the béchamel sauce, sauté the onion in butter. Then, on low heat, add flour and milk, mixing quickly. It will turn lumpy; keep mixing until it becomes thick. Remove from heat and add heavy cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Now start layering your lasagna. Start with the red sauce, then noodles. Then layer red sauce, cream sauce, cottage mix, mozzarella cheese, and noodles and repeat until done.

The last layer should be noodles, red sauce, and grated mozzarella cheese.
Pour the water over the whole thing and cover with a piece of parchment paper and then with aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 1 hour. I like to let it sit a bit after baking so it becomes more firm.

—Faigy Peritzman, columnist

Sweet Italian Pasta Salad

My mother made up this Italian salad dressing recipe, and it was always our favorite on lettuce salads. I needed a recipe that I could make for a crowd and decided to try it on pasta. It worked out really well, and it has become a frequent request in our house!


  • 2 lb (910 g) rotini pasta, cooked according to pkg directions
  • 1 large red onion, julienned
  • 1 large red pepper, julienned
  • 1 can sliced black olives
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 cube frozen parsley (optional)

Place the pasta in a large bowl. Add onion, pepper, and olives to the pasta.

In a large container with a lid, mix the sugar, garlic powder, salt, and boiling water. Once combined, add the remaining ingredients. Shake well and pour over the pasta. Refrigerate and serve cold.

—Sarina Laghaei, ad design

Undone Egg Roll Fettuccine

I’ve been making this recipe since Chanie Nayman published it, and it’s been a hit this whole time! It’s a go-to for when I’m hosting a crowd, sending dinner to a friend, or really any time.


  • 8 oz (226 g) fettuccine, cooked according to pkg directions
  • ⅓ lb (135 g) ground beef
  • 1 10-oz (283-g) pkg coleslaw mix
  • 5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cube frozen garlic
  • 3 Tbsp sweet-and-sour duck sauce
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger, or 1 cube frozen ginger
  • ⅛ tsp pepper
  • 2 squirts hot sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp MSG-free chicken soup mix
  • 3 Tbsp chopped scallions
  • 3–4 egg roll wrappers, for garnish (optional)

Brown the meat in a skillet over medium heat for 3–5 minutes, until it’s no longer clumpy. Add the remaining ingredients, except the scallions and egg roll wrappers, and sauté for another 5 minutes, or until the cabbage begins to wilt and becomes translucent. Remove from heat.

Transfer fettuccine to a serving dish and pour meat mixture on top. Add scallions and serve.

If desired, fry egg roll wrappers alone. Crack into pieces and sprinkle on top of pasta just before serving.

—Michal Frischman,
chief of staff, US office

Penne alla Vodka

This is my daughter Rachel’s go-to recipe, and now it’s yours too!


  • 1 16-oz (450-g) box penne, cooked according to pkg directions
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cube frozen garlic
  • 1 cup vodka or water
  • 1 15-oz (425-g) can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder, to taste
  • 1 cube frozen parsley
  • 1 cube frozen basil
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Sauté the onion in 1 Tbsp butter until translucent, then add garlic. Add vodka and simmer for a few minutes. Add tomato sauce, sugar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, parsley, and basil and simmer. Then add heavy cream and another tablespoon of butter. Pour sauce over pasta and serve.

—Nina Feiner, sales manager

Whole Wheat Baked Ziti

This is a delicious and easy pasta dish that I make all the time. And it’s even whole wheat, so it’s kind of healthy.


  • 1 16-oz (450-g) pkg whole wheat penne, cooked according to pkg directions
  • 16 oz (450 g) cottage cheese
  • 8 oz (225 g) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 26-oz (740-g) jar pasta sauce
  • 6 slices mozzarella or Muenster cheese
  • oregano, for sprinkling

Mix pasta, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, and sauce in a 9×13-inch (23×33-cm) pan. Lay out sliced cheese to cover the top and sprinkle with oregano. Bake covered at 350°F (175°C) for 1 hour, then uncover and bake for another 10 minutes.

—Suri Friedman, copy editor


(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 881)

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