Pasta Lorenzo

Almost every recipe I create has a story. It is either inspired by childhood memories, a night out with good friends, traveling, a talented chef or random people I meet…

Like Lorenzo

One warm Friday night in June, I ran into my local grocery to grab a few things for a quick pasta dinner for the kids. I found the ricotta cheese I was looking for in a refrigerated case and when I reached in to grab it, I saw a much older man standing next to me. He had olive skin, curly brown hair and was casually dressed in a light tank top and grey linen shorts. He smiled at me and when I returned the smile he said, in a soft Italian accent, “You know, I have been working hard on improving my memory but you just made me forget everything I was looking for…”  I laughed and nodded as if to say “good one,” and continued looking for the items I needed.

As I was getting ready to check-out, I passed by him again and said “I hope you remembered what you were looking for..”

He replied, “I would love to make you dinner tonight.”

I thanked him for the invitation and told him I had dinner plans with my husband that evening.

He smiled big and waving his index finger enthusiastically back and forth between us said “This is how it should be. You look someone in the eye, say hello, have a conversation. You just gave me back 10 more years!”

He then held out his hand to me and said “my name is Lorenzo!”

I smiled back and thought to myself, of course it is.

Pasta Lorenzo

Later that summer, after I proudly plucked and presented the very first tomato that I ever grew, my friend Karle asked, “what’s its name?”

I spent a lot of time talking to my tomatoes and herbs that summer, gently coaxing them to grow. I smiled and said “Lorenzo.”

When we are always hurrying from one place to the next or looking down at our phones, we may miss the Lorenzo’s in life.

Look up, be present and buon appetito!



Serves 4

  • 2 large, ripe tomato’s diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, germs removed – chopped fine
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • A bunch of fresh basil approximately 1/4 C sliced thin like a chiffonade
  • 1/3 Cup of ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 Cup of fresh spinach
  • 1/4 Cup pine nuts
  • 1 lb of rigatoni pasta
  • Sea salt & cracked pepper
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese


  1. Dice your tomatoes and finely chop your garlic. Set aside.
  2. Lightly toast your pine nuts in a pan on the stove or in the oven. Pay close attention not to burn them. Set aside.
  3. Boil a large pot of generously salted water on the stove. Add the pasta and cook for about 1-2 minutes less than the package directions for al dente. Reserve 1 Cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Then drain the rigatoni and return it to the pot.
  4. Add olive oil and garlic to a dry, large skillet. Simmer, stirring often until the garlic is golden and fragrant.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes to the olive oil and garlic, stirring frequently until soft.
  6. Then add the cooked pasta to the skillet tossing to coat.
  7. Add about 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water to make a creamier sauce.
  8. Sprinkle in the toasted pine nuts, fresh spinach and stir.
  9. Take spoonfuls of the ricotta and evenly spread it out on top of the pasta, then toss.
  10. If your pasta seems a little dry, add more pasta water as needed.
  11. Add Salt & Pepper to taste.
  12. Top with fresh basil and lots of parmesan cheese


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