Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pantry Pasta

Hi everyone!  We seem to be flying right into the holidays.  Per usual, all the stores are decorated way too early.  While I do love me some Christmas, I would really like to enjoy Thanksgiving first.  Although there won’t be much enjoying going on here.  We have a ton of holiday shows/craft fairs coming up so we really don’t get to do much relaxing/enjoying.  Oh well, as long as I still get to eat my body weight in mashed potatoes.

As we progress through the holiday season, we all need those quick recipes that you can bust out, spur of the moment, right?  You know, a recipe that you can throw together straight from your pantry.  I have the perfect pasta recipe for you that I call my “Pantry Pasta”.  It is fast, it is delicious, and it is straight from my pantry.  And, it is vegetarian….if you are into that kinda thing.


For my “Pantry Pasta”, I used olive oil, shallots, garlic, diced tomatoes, capers, balsamic vinegar, angel hair pasta and goat cheese.  Ok, I realize goat cheese isn’t from your pantry, but I love, LOVE, goat cheese with this pasta.  If you want to keep it straight-pantry, use parmesan cheese that lives in the pantry.

I also used salt and pepper.  They never make the pictures.


I started by chopping my shallot and mincing my garlic.  Tiny mince on the garlic and bigger dice on the shallots.


I sautéed the garlic and shallots in olive oil with a smidge of salt and pepper.  I really just cooked this until the shallots were translucent, not really brown.  This goes pretty quick.


Once the garlic and shallots were translucent and sweaty, I added my balsamic vinegar.  I love balsamic…it’s my favorite vinegar.  You could use whatever you want….sherry vinegar, red wine, champagne…take your pick, fancy pants.

If you totally hate vinegar, use wine.

I let this cook for just a minute.  The vinegar will reduce really fast and almost disappear.  That’s ok.  It is just improving the flavor;)


Next comes the diced tomatoes and capers that have both been drained.  I love capers.  Do you?  They are little balls of sour pickle goodness.  They give this pasta a good tangy bite.

I let this cook for just a couple of minutes to “marry” the flavors.  I hate that term.  Why can my flavors marry?  Was there a proposition for that?


The last step for this sauce, to kind of bring everything together and make it more “saucy” is to add pasta water.  I let the pasta boil while I am putting the sauce together.  Angel hair cooks for just a few minutes, so I reserve about a cup of the water.  The water is all starchy and salty and it will thicken the sauce and help it cling to the pasta.

I added the pasta water and let the sauce boil away for just a couple of minutes.


Finally, I added the pasta to the sauce.  I mixed that all around, and then I mixed in the goat cheese.  Once it is all mixed and coated….it looks like this:


Yum!  This pasta is salty, tangy, slightly sweet from the tomatoes and creamy from the cheese.  It is perfection.


And it’s all from my pantry!  This is stuff that most of us have on hand.  Open your fridge…I bet you have a jar of capers on the door.  You should.  They are delicious.

Pantry Pasta

1/2 pound angel hair pasta, cooked and drained with 1 cup pasta water reserved

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large shallot, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

½ cup capers, drained

4 ounces goat cheese

Sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until they are softened, about 5 minutes.  Season garlic and shallots with salt and pepper.  Add balsamic vinegar and cook for an additional minute.

Add tomatoes, capers and pasta water to pan.  Cook for an additional five minutes, or until sauce is thickened.

Add cooked pasta and goat cheese.  Mix well.
Serves 4

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