Monday, August 25, 2014

Effortless Weeknight Pasta

Dan and I have discovered a new favorite dish, which I'm calling our Weeknight Pasta.  I was inspired by a weeknight dinner my friend tossed together at her apartment, tossing ingredients into a blender and tossing pasta in the mix.  It was so good, I gave it a try at home.  Now, we toss whatever we have that makes sense into the mix for a super easy, tasty meal.

Example Ingredients

Typically, I'll cook an entire box of pasta, something like rigatoni that will allow the mix to stick.  I save a little of the starchy pasta water on the side for later.

Separately, I'll combine a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil with whatever cheese, herbs, etc. that I want to add in that night.  For these photos, I happened to have fresh basil from my coworker, garlic, and some boring parmesan cheese in a shaker.  But once you toss it all into a food processor or mini chopper (this night I used my mini chopper) and mix it up, you come up with a great flavor.  You could do this to make an easy pesto too, with pine nuts and more basil vs. tomatoes.

Once the sauce gets to a good consistency, I stop pulsing it in the chopper.   It should be well-mixed.

Lastly, I just toss the pasta in this sauce, adding the starchy water I saved to help it all stick.  The pasta water is key to helping it make that great squelchy sound that lets you know it's mixing up well!

Even though there are just two of us, I still use the whole box of pasta.  Why?  This pasta is great warm or cold, and it's the perfect leftover to keep in the fridge.  We pack it for lunch the next day, or eat it for dinner multiple days.  You can serve it with salad, bread, whatever is easy.

As I try to cook more at home, I know that this will be a tried-and-true combo to help me clean out the fridge and pantry.  If there's leftover Italian sausage, why not cook it up and add to this?  I imagine this is something we will eat every other week or so because it's so effortless.  And it looks nice too!

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P.S.  Another weeknight favorite?  A little compound butter.  I typically set out half a stick of butter before I go to bed, then spend five minutes in the morning mixing it with herbs and/or spices.  For this pasta dish, I made some butter with minced garlic and Italian herbs to put on some warm bread.  You just mix the softened butter with whatever you want (sweet idea: cinnamon and sugar or honey to put on your breakfast pancakes!) then wrap it in a little plastic to get back to a stick or ball form and put it back in the fridge for at least an hour.  It really adds some great flavor to whatever you spread it on later.


  1. This sounds sooo yummy! Wish I had your cooking skills!

    XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass

  2. Anyone can make this. And it's cheaper than going out! :)


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