funny menu for you
Breaking Out of the Pasta Rut
• Pasta is the savior of busy cooks. When we can't think of anything else, there's always that jar of red sauce. Within a few minutes, we've boiled the pasta, heated the sauce, and thrown in whatever was lurking in the refrigerator that looked good. Sprinkle with Parmesan and we're done.
• While this meal is handy, I'm tired of it. Making the same thing repeatedly bores me, even when it meets my criteria for an incredibly quick meal.
• If you feel the same way, here are some ways to break out of your rut, without spending any extra time on the sauce. First, choose your sauce base: canned spaghetti sauce, prepared Alfredo sauce, olive oil, or fresh tomatoes.
• Then, try one of the combinations below.
• The premise is simple: add a few exciting things to the base so that that your dish tastes good enough to make again, and good enough to make for company.
• Some of these combinations are deceptively simple and surprisingly luscious.
• I made the tuna and olive oil dish for my skeptical husband, and together, we finished the whole bowl. The anchovy pasta has been a family favorite for years.
• 1. Spaghetti Sauce Base
• Saute these items below in a pan, then add the sauce: sausage slices, browned with sliced red peppers and onions mushrooms (a variety is good) sauteed in butter and herbs, preferably fresh sage leftover sliced chicken breast sauteed quickly with onions or shallots. Add chopped green olives to taste.
• 2. Alfredo (white sauce) Base
• Today you can purchase respectable pre-prepared white sauces at the grocery store. Just heat the sauce over the stove, then throw in:
• smoked salmon pieces, capers, and dill peas and chopped pancetta or ham
a few twists of lemon peel, a squeeze of lemon juice, and cooked shrimp.
• 3. Olive Oil Base
• This one is so easy, it's ridiculous. You can make just about anything with the triumvirate of olive oil, garlic and Parmesan. You can even leave it at that, for a classic Italian dish. Or, saute minced garlic over low heat, then add: a can of anchovies, smash them, then toss sauce with pasta and 1/4 cup of chopped parsley.
• a can of tuna, capers and chopped parsley.
• chopped arugula, spinach or chard (tough stems discarded). Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese.
• chopped cooked broccoli.
• Toss with Parmesan, bacon bits and hot red pepper flakes.
• 4. Fresh or Canned Tomato Base
• Start with a saute of: olive oil and diced zucchini, then a clove or two of garlic, minced. Throw in tomatoes and heat. Add chopped fresh basil and toss.
• olive oil and garlic, add a can of tomatoes, dried herbs, and a can of chickpeas. Add chopped fresh basil and toss.
• olive oil and garlic, add a can of tomatoes, then 1 lb. shrimp. Toss in herbs such as fresh basil and parsley, and sprinkle pasta with Parmesan cheese.
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