3 Easy pasta dishes to up your quarantine cooking

By Alex Chung
Writer for Pro Home Cooks

Since this quarantine is now our new normal I thought it would be great to drop some food inspiration your way. I want to share three delicious pantry meals that could inspire you to get into your kitchen and whip up something delicious. One is a spicy chorizo tomato pasta dish, the other is a one pot creamy garlicky malfadine dish that uses no cream whats so ever, and the last meal is a chickpea pasta soup!The soup makes a big pot that serves 4 – 5 people with very little ingredients and it tastes even better the next day.Who doesn’t love leftovers?

Creamy Garlic Ricotta Malfadine


  • 1/2 pack of malfadine pasta

  • 1/4 cup of whole milk ricotta

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic

  • salt & pepper to taste

  • 1 lemon

  • chopped parsley, optional


  1. In a large pot, cook your pasta just a minute before it gets to your liking. You will not be cooking the pasta more once it comes together so make sure its at your perfect doneness before you drain your pasta.

  2. Reserve some of your pasta water and place your cooked pasta back into the pot you cooked it in.

  3. With the flame on low heat add in 1/4 cup of whole milk ricotta, 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic, a squeeze of lemon, salt, and pepper to taste. Splash in about 1-2 tablespoons of your reserved pasta water and mix everything together. If its too thick add a little bit more water but be careful to not go overboard.

  4. Finish it off with some chopped parsley and serve warm!

Alternative Ingredients:

  • You can use whatever pasta you have. I would try to not use short cut pastas like rings or ditalini because they tend to be too small. Elbow are the smallest I’d go but my favorite pasta shapes I like to use for this recipe are spaghetti, linguini, fettuccini penne, ziti, and spirals.

  • If you don’t have ricotta, fear not! You can use feta and whip it in a food processor with a little bit of water to make a great creamy consistency. You can even use a nice brie.

  • Vegan? No problem. Soak 1/4 cup of cashews in water for 30 minutes and then blend with 1/4 cup of water. Season with salt, pepper, and some nutritional yeast if you have it on hand and you’ve got a great creamy base for your pasta!



Spicy Chorizo Shells


  • 1/2 a box of small shells

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic

  • 1/4 cup of chorizo flavored spam, cubed

  • 1/4 cup of broccoli, chopped into small florets

  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of water

  • A piece of queso fresco, optional


  1. Start by cooking your pasta in salted boiling water until they are al dente.

  2. While your pasta is cooking, in a large skillet on medium heat lightly sear 1 tablespoon of garlic and 1/4 cup of chorizo flavored spam until the garlic is a light brown color and the spam has a crispy outer shell.

  3. Add in 1/4 cup of broccoli and let it cook until it is bright green. This should take approximately 3 – 4 minutes. Squeeze in your tomato paste and cook it for a minute to take the metallic taste away.

  4. At this point your pasta should be done, so add your pasta to your meat/sauce mixture. Add in 1/2 cup of water and mix everything together until you get a saucy pasta dish. If you need more liquid add some more water in until you get a good consistency.

  5. Finish your dish off by crumbling a piece of queso fresco on top and enjoy will it’s warm!

Alternative Ingredients:

  • I know what you’re thinking. SPAM!? Listen, these are trying times and wars have been won on spam, okay. However, you can use whatever meat you have. Leftover chicken, pork, beef, canned meats… it all works.

  • As for spice, if you your meat isn’t spicy add some cayenne pepper or hot pepper flakes. You can even squirt in some gochujang, sirracha, or your favorite hot sauce!

  • When it comes to the veggies, I think spinach would be great for this dish but I only had broccoli so thats what I used. Any veggies is perfect for this. If all you have is frozen corn, use that!

  • I have tons of different cheeses in my fridge and I thought queso fresco was very fitting for this meal but any crumbly cheese works. Feta, parmesan, pecorino, or even no cheese works. It’s just a topping you don’t really need it. You can even skip it if you’d like.



Chickpea Pasta Soup


  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 1 carrot, peeled & diced

  • 1 tablespoon of diced garlic

  • 2 tablespoon of butter

  • 1 1/2 cups of short cut pasta

  • 1 – 8 ounce can of chickpeas, including the aquafaba it comes in

  • 4 cups of water

  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil

  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 2 tablespoon of cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoon of water


  1. In a large pot on medium low heat caramelize the diced onion, carrots, and garlic in 2 tablespoon of butter. Season with a little bit of salt and continue to cook until the onion have become golden brown and very fragrant. Approx. 15 minutes.

  2. Toss in the pasta, the chickpeas and all its liquid, 4 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano. Bring everything to a boil and cook for about 10 – 12 minutes or until the pasta is fully cooked.

  3. Once everything is soft and fully cooked, mix the cornstarch mixture into your chickpea soup and let it boil until it thickens. Approx. 1 – 2 minutes.

Alternative Ingredients:

  • Normally, when I make this dish I only use onion and garlic but if you have any veggies like peppers, celery, carrots, etc. don’t be afraid to throw them in. You can sauté them to bring out their sugars and bring a new flavor to your soup.

  • Don’t have butter? Use oil, ghee, coconut oil, or really anything kind of fat you have.

  • Same goes with the pasta, use what you got but I really like short cut pasta for this soup. I try to match the size of the pasta to the size of the beans. So rings are great for this dish but any short cut pasta or even broken up leftover pieces of pasta works well too!

  • If you don’t have cornstarch on hand, you use flour, arrow root, or tapioca to thicken it up a bit. If not, you can totally skip it. It won’t have the same viscosity but it will taste great!

By Alex Chung
Senior Food Writer at Pro Home Cooks
Sign in to your account to leave a comment