Anyone who knew my grandma Helena will know that she was an incredible cook. She was born in Syria, moved to Israel as a young girl, then onto the Philippines and eventually she made it to America. Of course she naturally had the cooking gene that made her food taste so good but you could taste the influences from each country she spent time in, in her cooking.

I use a fair amount of spices in my food, allspice, cumin, paprika, the works, but it is rare to find a pasta dish which contains cinnamon and doesn’t taste like a dessert! The cinnamon in here enhances the tomato based sauce and brings out the flavor of the onion and garlic.

This one is a family favorite, great for kids and adults and a real crowd pleaser.  It’s so simple but just too good to resist!
Often I make a large batch and freeze individual portions in Pyrex, that way when I want to use them I just pop them in the oven for about half an hour until the top is a little burnt looking and very crunchy.


You will need

  • 1 pack of penne or spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large can tomato paste
  • 1 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup cinnamon
  • 10 pieces of roasted chicken on or off the bone, works well with leftovers


  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. In a pot on medium heat, heat up the olive oil, and then add in the garlic and onion to saute. Once this is ready add in the chopped tomato for about 3 minutes, until the liquid has been released and the tomatoes are very soft.
  3. Add the tomato puree, mix in with the onion, garlic and tomato and then add 1 cup of water. Be careful as the puree can easily burn. If necessary add in the second cup of water.
  4. Add in the salt, pepper, sugar and cinnamon and mix.
  5. While you are making the sauce, boil the pasta.
  6. Pour the sauce onto the pasta and the chicken and mix well.
  7. Top with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and bake until crispy, about 40 minutes.

What do you think? Let me know!