There comes a time in every student's life when Kraft Dinner stops tasting so good. But with limited time and a limited budget, what's a starving student to eat? Celebrity chef David Rocco suggests these one-pot recipes that everyone can make.

Zuppa di fagioli bean and Pancetta soup

  • 4 tbsp (56 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3 oz (90 g) pancetta, cubed
  • 2 fresh chili peppers, chopped
  • 1 can (19 oz/540 ml) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 - 2 cups (250 - 500 ml) water

In a saucepan, heat olive oil. Saute garlic and add the pancetta and cook for 2 minutes or until the garlic is slightly golden.

Add chili peppers and cannellini beans and let that cook for a few more minutes. Add salt and pepper. I like to take a fork and mash about half of the beans to make a thicker consistency. Of course you can use a blender and you can mix it for a more even consistency. Either works. Then add some water depending on how thick or soupy you want it. Simmer for another 15 minutes.

Per 2-4 persone

Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup Scamorza cheese
  • 6 leaves fresh basil (torn)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (optional, for drizzling)

This is devilishly easy. It’s one of the first things I mastered when I was a kid.

I’d take my mother’s tomato sauce, pour it into a large pan and heat it up. When it started to bubble, I would crack in a couple of eggs, some salt, and throw in whatever cheese we had in the fridge. Being in an Italian household, it was either Parmigiano, mozzarella, percorino or (now my favorite) scamorza, which I would either slice up or grate into the pan. And all of them work well.

I would turn off the heat, tear up some basil and throw that in, then put a lid over the pan and let the eggs poach in the heat of the tomato sauce.

While it was cooking, I’d grab a plate and some bread for scooping up the melted smoky scamorza and tomato sauce. Within five minutes, I was having what is still one of my favorite anytime meals.

Baked Pasta with Four Cheeses

  • 1 lb (500 g) rigatoni pasta
  • 4 tbsp (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large eggplant, cubed
  • 15 infornate olives or any black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 10 large sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 dried chili peppers, crushed (optional)
  • Salt
  • 3 cups (750 mL) tomato purée
  • 3/4 lb (375 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 lb Smoked scamorza cheese, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for sprinkling
  • ½ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese, for sprinkling

Usually I’d tell you to cook your pasta al dente. For this dish, don’t worry about it. Because it’s going to be baked, it doesn’t matter if the pasta is overcooked. So boil the water and cook your pasta.

Now for the sauce: Heat up a saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour in the extra-virgin olive oil and brown up the garlic. Make sure the oil is hot before adding the eggplant, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and chili peppers. Sauté the whole thing until the eggplant gets soft and is slightly golden. If you need to add a bit more oil, go easy. Eggplant absorbs oil like crazy, so you don’t want to overdo it or you’ll weigh down the dish and feel like you’ve eaten a brick. When the eggplant is nice and golden, add some salt and the tomato purée. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until the pasta is ready.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add all the sauce, and the mozzarella and scamorza cheeses. Stir really well. Pour the whole thing into a large baking dish. Top with a good sprinkle of Parmigiano and Asiago and bake in a 400°F (200°C) oven for about 30 minutes or until beautifully golden and crisp.

Per 4–6 persone

Lazy Man's Risotto

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (60ml)
  • 28oz canned peeled plum tomatoes, pureed (790g)
  • dried chili peppers, crushed
  • 5 basil leaves, torn
  • Salt to season
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano
  • 2 cups rice
  • 3 cups water

Bring water and rice to a boil. Turn heat to low and let cook for 18-25 minutes. Heat olive oil in a saucepan and add onion, garlic, and chili peppers. Gently fry ingredients together. Add pureed plum tomatoes to saucepan. Simmer on low to medium heat for 10 minutes. Salt to season. Add rice, parmigiano, and basil. Mix well and serve.

Per 4 persone