Pasta is one of the most cliché college meals, but it is almost a religion for many people in this world too. My good Italian friend from college, Marcantonio, has taught me a lot about his culture, and pasta is a very special part of their lives. I asked him to tell me more about it and I'll try to sum it up here.

"Pasta is tradition, it is family. My great grandfather ate it and his great grandfather too. It's not only a dish, it's a whole variety of dishes. When cooked right, in moderate amounts and with fresh ingredients, it is actually a healthy meal, basic for the mediterranean diet. The classic pasta plate is made with the ingredients that we have in Italy: grain, tomato and olive oil. 

Something that I like about pasta is that it is not only very easy to make, but you can prepare it in many different ways...Only a few are world famous, but you can take it cold, hot, with vegetables, with meat, in a soup, with tomato, plain...I just love it."

My friend also pointed out that everyone can join the party (even celiacs with the gluten-free versions)...Carnivores, vegetarians and vegans are all welcome.

He will probably kill me when he sees my recipe. He likes his pasta simple, classic, fresh, a little undercooked (that's how Italians usually take it) and with no extra cheese (the rest of the world is way too exaggerated with cheese for them). So here you have an example of how to prepare a pasta plate, just because there are so many ways that you may not know where to start.

The Classic Pasta Plate

  • Prep Time:2 mins
  • Cook Time:20 mins
  • Total Time:22 mins
  • Servings:2
  • Easy


  • 1 package any pasta you like
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • 4-5 mushrooms
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • Step 1

    Cook pasta in previously boiled water. It usually takes 10 min for water to boil. You can follow the package instructions to be precise with the timing.

    GIF by Marina Wollmann
  • Step 2

    Put the tomato sauce in another pan.

  • Step 3

    Add some milk if you want the salsa to be more liquid (I added rice-coconut milk but you could use any kind).

    GIF by Marina Wollmann
  • Step 4

    Mix it up and add some mushrooms, salt, pepper. You can also add chopped onion or other veggies that you like. Let all that cook for 8-10 minutes.

    soup, mushroom, chicken
    Marina Wollmann
  • Step 5

    When pasta is tender enough, take it our of the pan with one of these special spoons or with a classic strainer.

    Marina Wollmann
  • Step 6

    Serve and pour the salsa over the pasta.

    Marina Wollmann
  • Step 7

    Add some cheese and you are good to go.

    pasta, spaghetti, sauce, macaroni
    Marina Wollmann

There you have, the easy pasta plate that every student should know how to make. There are so many types of pasta and so many different ways to prepare them that you could eat this everyday. But don't do that, remember extremes are never good. In this case, I prepared more than I needed for dinner so with the leftovers I made this refreshing tasteful salad. Have fun creating your own!

salad, vegetable, pasta
Marina Wollmann