Today is Ash Wednesday. I always plan ahead for Mardi Gras and make my Holy Trinity Jambalaya the night before. The next day when we fast, I don't think much about food. But because I didn't eat anything other than an apple with a schmear of peanut butter all day, by the time I picked up the girls from school, they wanted snacks (kids don't fast) and I was ravenous.
So I started cooking dinner at 3:30 PM. We were eating by 4. Yes, like a senior citizen; don't judge. And I hadn't planned a thing.
As I was running out the door to pick up the girls, I checked to see if I had my ingredients for linguini with clam sauce. Everything but linguini. Three boxes of fettuccine, yes; a box of mini penne perfect for mac -n- cheese, check; and a box of farfalle (bow ties), but no linguini. I have this odd belief that certain pastas just go with certain sauces and if I can't do it right, then I'm not going to bother. Linguini just goes with clam sauce. But without linguini, the bottle of clam juice and can of clams I have in the pantry will just have to wait. I didn't want to stop at the grocery store - we all know what happens when you go to the grocery store hungry. So after a quick mental scan of my pantry, I knew tonight's dinner would be my Pantry Pasta.
I'm taking nominations for a better name in the comments below.
Basically, it's a quick, easy, and tasty one-pot meal that requires exactly zero planning because I always have the ingredients in my pantry. In a perfect world, I'd have fresh mushrooms, but I always keep a can just in case. I hope you'll give it a try!
Pantry Pasta (or whatever...)
1 14.5 oz box Barilla Plus brand (in the yellow box) farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1/4 c olive oil
3 Tbls butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves (I always have a bag on hand for my morning green smoothies)
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, liquid reserved
1 small can mushrooms stems and pieces, drained
1 small can tuna (I buy the kind packed in oil; it has way better flavor), drained
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- Fill large pot with water and bring to boil. Generously salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to your taste. From putting it into the pot, to my taste, farfalle usually takes an extra minute beyond the recommendation on the box.
- Meanwhile, chop onions and garlic and open cans and drain mushrooms and tuna.
- When pasta is done cooking to al dente or to your preference, drain in colander. Return cooking pot to the heat and lower to medium high. Melt butter and add olive oil. Saute onions until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and stir for about 20 seconds. Add spinach leaves and saute for about 2 minutes until just wilted.
- Add artichoke hearts and their marinating liquid, mushrooms, tuna, basil, salt and pepper. As you stir, slightly break apart artichoke hearts. Stir until combined and warmed through.
- Return pasta to the pot and toss to combine. Drizzle with additional olive oil if sauce isn't saucy enough for you (this will depend on how much liquid you had from the marinated artichoke hearts). Serve in pasta bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese.