One thing I’ve learned over the last year is that having a few items in the pantry at all times makes it really easy to get a meal on the table quickly. That lesson came in handy this afternoon when we came home from Eliana’s swimming class and the three of us were already hungry for lunch. For me, whole-wheat pasta is usually my fast and easy go-to meal. It is low maintenance to cook, it’s a great base for anything I want to mix into it, and it’s pretty healthy.
After a quick raid of the freezer, pantry and refrigerator, I came up with the ingredients below:
- From the freezer:
- -Italian-style breadcrumbs
- -Around ⅛ cup roasted onions*
- From the pantry:
- -1 box whole-wheat rotini
- -1 can organic cannellini beans
- -Olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
- From the refrigerator:
- -2 lemons
- -Parmesan cheese
- -1 large clove of roasted garlic*
*The roasted onions and roasted garlic were an atypical, but exciting, find and a major benefit of having left over ingredients from other recipes. Typically, I would have just used a raw onion (if available) and either minced garlic or some garlic powder.
Using the above listed ingredients, here’s what I did for my “No Recipe” Pantry Pasta Sauce which was ready in about as much time as it took to prepare the pasta.
1. Boil the water for the pasta and cook according to directions on the package. Keep a mug handy to scoop out pasta water as needed.
2. Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large sauté pan and heat over low-medium heat. Add the frozen onions and garlic clove. Heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the onions. Add 1½ tablespoons breadcrumbs and stir. After another minute, add the beans with their liquid, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir. Raise the heat to medium and let the mixture come to a simmer. Add the juice of two lemons and stir again.
3. Add around ½ mug of pasta water to the pan and stir. Let mixture simmer while you chop the parsley. Add in the parsley, some grated parmesan and more pasta liquid. Stir and let simmer another minute. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Turn off the heat.
4. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the cooked pasta directly into the sauté pan. Mix everything around and grate more parmesan over the top.
Voilà! No Recipe Pantry Pasta Sauce is ready to eat!
And, here’s a link to Eliana enjoying her lunch and, out of nowhere, saying, “Bean!” Now that’s my teeny tiny foodie!