Janet's Notebook
Restaurant Favorite Pasta Recipes You Can Make at Home


Pork, Bacon, and Onion Pasta


There is an Italian restaurant in my neighborhood that I absolutely love. When it first opened, I became a regular. Maybe too regular...

After one meal I realized that I could easily make my meal for a fraction of the cost. That's when I turned to my recipe box to see what fantastic pasta recipes I could whip up at home.

"This recipe was born from my love of vodka sauce," explains Angie Robinson (Findlay, OH). "I love lasagna as well so I [used a jar I had in the pantry and] made up a small batch - it was very tasty."

Angie's Lasagna with Vodka Sauce is fantastic. She uses veal, pork, and beef in her recipe. I love this combination in meatloaf and it's proven to be just as good in lasagna. The beef provides robust flavor, pork adds fat (which is also flavor) and the veal is just delicious.

I loved using a jarred vodka sauce too. It's not only convenient but creamier than traditional red sauce. You don't taste the vodka in the sauce and the alcohol cooks off. It adds just a little bit of something extra to the overall flavor.

Fettuccine Alfredo is something I frequently order at a restaurant and it's a dish that can be easily recreated at home with a few ingredients. One of my favorite recipes is from Megan Olson (Baraboo, WI).

"This rich, creamy dish is one of my favorite comfort foods and it has gotten rave reviews from even the pickiest eaters of the family," says Megan. "It's also very easy to make."

Megan's recipe is comfort food to the max. Creamy and packed with Romano and Parmesan cheese, her fettuccini alfredo is fantastic.

"My grandma made this for us when we were growing up and I've yet to find a homemade spaghetti sauce I like better," thinks Jan C. (St. Louis, MO). "It is best after the flavors meld overnight."

I added the optional eggplant to her Maw's Spaghetti and, oh my, I absolutely loved it. Her seasonings are perfect. Plus, it was passed down from her grandmother. I think generational recipes are always a bit tastier.

Alex Callegari's (Miami, FL) Pasta and Pancetta and Peas in a Gorgonzola Sauce is his family's favorite pasta dish. I'm hooked too.

Good and creamy, it's an impressive pasta dinner that comes together very easily. I loved the bits of salt from the pancetta and the pops of sweetness from the peas.

In the Test Kitchen, we tested this recipe with rigatoni pasta since it's widely available. The hole in the rigatoni allows for ample cheese sauce coverage. Expect big smiles on everyone's face as they dig in.

The pork and bacon ingredients caught my eye in Wanda Leech's (West Palm Beach, FL) Pork, Bacon, and Onion Pasta - what a great combination of flavors. Then Wanda shared, "If you like sausage and bacon you're going to love this." I knew I had to give it a try.

The balsamic vinegar and cooking the onions add a bit of sweetness. There's a slight bite from the pepper flakes, but it's not overpowering. Serve with a salad and you'll have a dinner people think you ordered and picked up from your local Italian restaurant.

Don't get me wrong, I still love to head to my local Italian restaurant. Only now, I do it more of a special occasion rather than the norm. Have you recreated a recipe you've tried while out to eat? Make sure to post it for us to try too. Happy Pinching!



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