As the colder weather and the holidays approach, I wanted to focus on some recipes that are simple, easy and delicious. As a busy husband, father, real estate agent and involved member of my community, time is often a huge commodity to say the least. Even so, it is my firm belief that we should not have to trade quality, flavor and taste – as well as the nutrition – that a hearty home cooked meal provides simply because we are too busy. As you will see, these recipes are extremely versatile and can be prepared in a snap. Whether you are cooking for yourself, your family, or for a gathering, you will love the ease and big flavors these dishes will bring to your table. Always remember to have fun in the kitchen and to get creative. A nice glass of wine can’t hurt either!

• 1 lb rigatoni (precook al dente and store in the
refrigerator; for super-fast meal prep/lightly coat the
pasta in olive oil to prevent sticking during storage)
• 1 lb sweet or hot sausage (out of the casing browned
and drained/this can also be done prior for easy prep)
• 1 qt whole milk ricotta
• 1 qt marinara (homemade or premium store bought)
• ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
• ½ lb fresh mozzarella, diced
• Salt & pepper (to taste)
• 1 tsp oregano (dried)
• 1 tsp onion & garlic powder
• 1 tbsp dried parsley (fresh if you like)
• ½ cup chopped fresh basil

In a large bowl, mix the ricotta with the marinara, add the grated cheese and spices as well as the fresh mozzarella & sausage. Lastly, add the pasta and fold in very thoroughly. Add to a Pyrex, or similarly deep baking dish, and cook on 375 degrees or until it is toasted on the top and bubbling at the bottom. Let rest for 30 minutes and serve with a fresh basil chiffonade and a dash of grated pecorino and enjoy!

• 1 large heirloom tomato – rough cut into cubes
(2 medium size, if you cannot find a farmer’s
market or store that sells heirloom you can
substitute with beefsteak)
• 5 Persian cucumbers – halved and cut into ½ pieces
• ½ lb of fresh mozzarella – cut into cubes
• ½ large red onion – sliced thinly (place the onion
into a container and marinate with vinegar, salt
and pepper for 2-3 hours prior to making your salad)
• ½ cup fresh basil leaves – rough chopped
• The vinaigrette – 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp white
vinegar, 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice,
2 pinches each of: sea salt, cracked black pepper,
parsley flakes and oregano. Blend together vigorously.

In a bowl, add all ingredients and toss in the vinaigrette. Let chill or serve immediately. Great to pre-prep and store ingredients separately. Makes for amazingly quick prep time!

• 1 qt premium chicken stock
• 1 can Cannellini beans
(do not drain all the liquid or rinse)
• 2 cloves fresh garlic (sliced thin or minced finely)
• 1 pint of marinara
(homemade or premium store bought)
• 4 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese
• 1 tbsp parsley flakes
(you can use fresh chopped as well)
• Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes
(all to taste)
• ½ lb ditalini pasta
(cooked al dente, can be prepared in advance)

In a large high-sided sauce pan or medium stock pot, add about 1 tbsp of olive oil and toast your garlic. Add your cannellini beans and sauté. Add your spices and grated cheese and let the beans cook for 2-3 minutes occasionally stirring. Now add your marinara and let simmer for 2-3 next add your stock and stir well. The last step, add your pasta, let simmer a few minutes and serve nice and hot. If you like it more rustic and less like a traditional soup, add a little more marinara and a little less chicken stock. Serve in a soup bowl with a side of Italian bread.