Philacatessen | Dinner on the Quick

Quick pasta            Photo by Keri White

Busy days and nights can wreak havoc on dinner — family members rushing hither and yon, spouses working late or hosting clients, and everyone attending obligatory events.

But the following dinner is delicious, relatively healthy and quick to prepare. It is a matter of a bit of advance planning when you visit the supermarket; buy some frozen tortellini or ravioli and keep them on hand for a quick dinner.

This dish uses roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh parsley, chopped garlic and Parmesan cheese, but you can improvise with what you have on hand — olives, basil, cooked veggies, even just a drizzle of oil or butter is fine if you want to keep it super simple and your cupboard is bare.

Dinner on the Quick Pasta

Serves 4

1 pound your favorite filled pasta (tortellini, ravioli, etc.)

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Generous pinch red pepper flakes

2 pints cherry tomatoes

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil, salt, garlic and pepper flakes. When fragrant, add the tomatoes and pan roast them over a medium-high heat, shaking the pan occasionally until the skins blister, char a bit and begin to burst. This will take about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Lower the heat and allow the ingredients to stay warm.
  3. Cook the pasta according to package directions and, before draining, scoop ½ cup of the cooking water to use in the sauce.
  4. Drain the pasta and pour it into the skillet with the tomatoes. Stir the mixture, add the cheese and parsley, and drizzle the pasta water in as needed to spread the sauce, cheese and parsley over the pasta.
  5. Serve immediately.


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