Pasta

A perfect vehicle for almost any flavor. A good, cheap, filling starch, or a delicate envelope for a delicious filling.

Tortellini with Tomato Sauce

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For some reason, I prefer tortellini to ravioli. Maybe it's the shape, how it holds onto the sauce, or the ratio of pasta to filling. Whatever it is, I'm always up for tortellini.

Unfortunately, it's a lot of work to make. This endeavour is best done with friends in large batches, frozen until ready to eat. The alternative, ready-made fresh tortellini, is usually outside my budget. So, when there was a sale, I had to jump on it.

So I bought some chicken and mozarella tortellini. Combined with my recipe for tomato sauce, and some roasted cauliflower, I had an excellent dinner!

I've been making this tomato sauce recipe for a few months now, and I have to say I'm not going back to cans or jars. Tomato sauce is easy (though it does take 30 minutes) and delicious, with bright flavors that don't seem to survive the canning process.

And, since my oven was empty while making the pasta and sauce, I roasted some cauliflower with pepper and thyme. The result was perfectly browned and tasty.

Tortellini with tomato sauce and roasted cauliflower

Southwest Chicken Mac and Cheese

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Okay, just stick with me on this one.

In my late teens and early twenties, a lot of the food I ate came from cans and boxes, as I imagine most 20-somethings working shitty manufacturing jobs that paid enough to eat better than ramen noodle soup (those poor, lazy college kids). When I remembered, I'd pick up bags of frozen veggies, because I needed to offset the unhealthy with something resembling actual food. This healthy food I would, of course, offset with the cheapest macaroni and cheese I could find (no high-class Kraft Dinner for us, no sir).

As I imagine most of us have done at one time or another (I'm talking to you, KFC Famous Bowl), one day I got the fantastic idea to combine them, and my own personal Bachelor Chow (Now With Flavor) was born: Canned tuna, broccoli normandy, and macaroni and cheese.

This is not that recipe, but it belongs to the same dumb kid, 15 years later.

This recipe calls for a can, yes, of chicken. If you're not feeling that adventurous, or that lazy, you can boil and shred or pan-fry some chicken breast. The pan-fry method will probably result in the most flavor, especially when you get some nice browning.

Southwest Chicken Mac and Cheese

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Shrimp and Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

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Standing in stark contrast to the last pasta dish I made, there's this one. The blog I got this from, The Pioneer Woman, calls it Penne a la Betsy. In my mundane way, I'm calling it Shrimp and Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce.

This wonderful, rich, creamy dish comes together quickly and, except for the shrimp, I had everything I needed: A small can of tomato sauce from the Indian-spiced Stew a few weeks ago, some pasta I collected (bow ties are cool), and some cream. I've started keeping the ultra-pasteurized cream in my fridge for emergency scone baking and sauces. It keeps for a month, and it's extremely useful.

I didn't have any white wine left (thank the chicken for that one), so I just used a bit of water. This turned out a bit thin, so I let it simmer to thicken it back up. A bit of chicken stock would help fill in some flavor gaps, I suspect, if you don't have wine. Personally, I filled those gaps with some parmesan and red pepper.

All in all, this one was very good. I gorged myself stupid, have plenty of leftovers, and now, fat and happy, I'm telling you about it.

PS: The leftovers went well mixing the peas right in there.

Shrimp and Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce and some peas

Tuna Lemon and Herb Pasta

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I love the versatility of pasta. With just a few pantry ingredients, you can make a delicious meal. But not always, like this Tuna Lemon and Dill recipe from Olive Magazine.

I made some modifications due to the nature of US grocery stores and Imperial units, and my appalling lack of fresh dill, and the result was interesting, for a little while. I couldn't bring myself to finish it all, though.

If I had a rating system based on how many days of leftovers I could tolerate, this recipe would get a 2/5. Other people might find it appetizing, but this is definitely not my style of food.

Tuna lemon and herb pasta recipe

Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Carbonara

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Tonight I made Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Carbonara from closetcooking.

I'm trying to get more vegetables in my diet. So adding mushrooms and cauliflower to a classic carbonara, instead of the Italian sausage, sounded like a good idea.

And it was! It turned out really well, and came together easily, though roasting the vegetables does make the whole thing take about 20-30 minutes.

This is making me curious: What other vegetables can I add to carbonera? Asparagus perhaps? Broccoli maybe? I'm definitely going to need to experiment here!

Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Carbonara in a bowl