Perhaps as a result of my Sicilian-American heritage, I can handle just about any last minute dinner-crisis as long as we have pasta in the house. Its an absolute necessity….like breathable air…or that just-in-case bottle of decent champagn we keep tucked in the fridge door at all times. In case of guests (or being too tired to sift through take out menus)…bust out the pasta.
You’ve probably already guessed that the Atkins craze was lost on me. How?….WHY??? would anyone eliminate pasta from their life by choice?! Its versatile…its delicious, its the perfect vehicle for vegetables (and garlic) and its my number one solution for so-easy-you-barely-have-to-think-about-it dinners. How can you demonize something called Angel Hair??!!!! But I digress.
My point here is that keeping a few boxes of good pasta in the house at all times is a really, really good idea. Actually, there are a few things I try to always, always keep on-hand and all of them can work in harmony with one another and/or whatever else you have laying in your fridge, to create a truly satisfying (and unexpected guest-worthy) dinner.
Things RebeccaC tries to never, ever, ever run out of:
1. Barilla Pasta: Rotini, Angel Hair, Stelline or Gemmelli (I prefer whole or enriched grain ones)
2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (a few generous tablespoons can go a loooong way if its good stuff)
3. Parmesean Cheese (freshly shaved from a wedge please, decent quality…pre-shreds and crumbles don’t have the same flavor)
4. Fresh Garlic (my preference is for actual cloves, crushed or thinly sliced, not the jar kind or powder…it makes a difference)
5. Fresh lemon juice (again, from a real, actual lemon….not the kind in a jar or lemon-shaped plastic squeeze thing)
These 5 items are really all you need for a truly delicious dinner. Of course, my dietitican friends are going cross-eyed right now. Generally speaking, we also add lots of fresh or frozen vegetables (asparagus, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli are favorites) and some kind of protein (sauteed shrimp or chicken breast…even a raw egg tossed into hot, just-drained pasta will scramble up and be delicious).
If you keep these items on-hand, you’ll never be stuck for an easy, simple dinner idea. Even if you’re completely exhausted and had a horrible day, this will take less time than Dominos delivery. Pour yourself a glass of wine while your water is boiling, and in 15 minutes you’ll have a meal worthy of the Roman Gods (a.k.a. my ancestors).