Did you know that this Sunday, October 25th is World Pasta Day.? Keeping several types of pasta in your pantry is a must for just about every cook, but especially important for the budget minded one.
The Ultimate Fast Food
When you need to put together dinner in a flash, think pasta. It’s one of my favorite ingredients for a desperation dinner. Spaghetti with any type of sauce and served with a garlic or cheese bread can be put together in less than 30 minutes. Plus, keep a few of the no boil pastas on hand and lasagna can put together and cooked in less than an hour.
You Don’t Have to Be A Gourmet Cook
Even if you possess just the very basic cooking skills, pasta is easy to make, and the chances of you ruining it are practically zero. Hence no food wasted because of cooking bloopers.
Just think about how many types of pasta are out there. Spaghetti, linguine, penne and cannelloni. The list is almost endless so you never have to serve the same one twice.
It’s a Budget Food
Pasta is one of the cheapest foods to buy. It’s a bargain because it tends to be satisfying and fills you up quickly. And have you noticed how it’s always on sale…same goes for at least one brand of pasta sauce.
It’s Even Available in a Whole Grain Variety
I’m glad to see more pasta companies are producing whole grain varieties these days. One that I really like is made by Barilla. It’s not overly chewy and dry like many of the whole grain pastas I’ve tried.
You Can Serve It Hot or Cold
I just love all the dishes you can make with pasta, not only hot dishes, but cold ones too. One dish I always loved at the local deli was pasta mixed with oven roasted vegetables, soy sauce and sesame seed oil. Which also proves pasta makes a great base for Asian dishes too.
The Whole Family Loves It
It’s easy to please everyone, including the children, when you serve pasta. I don’t think I’ve ever met a child who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese, or a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.
You Can Go Gourmet
For just a few dollars more you can add gourmet type sauces and cheeses like Asiago to any pasta dish.
Leftover’s Taste Great
Pasta makes ideal leftovers, spaghetti pie, and also leftover pasta can be broken up and stirred into soups.
Here’s a recipe I came up with one a few years ago while I was clearing out the fridge. Combining a few items with some pantry staples, it made a perfect 30 minute meal.
Greek Inspired Pasta
One box jumbo pasta shells
I 26 oz. jar Classico Spicy Tomato and Pesto…any of your other favorite pasta sauces will work too.
I 15 oz. container ricotta cheese
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
I 16 oz. package frozen spinach, defrosted, drained and squeeze out all the water
½ cup chopped Kalamata olives
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 10 X 13 lasagna pan with cooking spray.
2.Cook the shells in boiling water until al dente…don’t overcook them as they’re easier to stuff when they’re still firm and they’ll continue to cook in the oven.
3.While the shells cook, mix together the spinach, ricotta cheese, chopped olives and feta cheese.
4.Drain the shells and place on a plate.
5.Pour just enough pasta sauce into the pan to coat it.
6.Fill each shell with the ricotta mixture and place them, mixture side up, on the pasta sauce.
7.Cover the shells with the rest of the sauce and top with the Parmesan cheese.
8.Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until everything is bubbling and the cheese has melted.