Philacatessen | Pantry Pasta

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Do you ever have those nights when it seems there’s “nothing in the house to cook,” but everyone is starving?

Before you reach for the phone to order pizza or Chinese, take a good look in your larder. I bet you have the makings for a version of this simple dish, and it will be done long before the takeout is delivered.

In general, some strategic grocery shopping can ensure that you always have the makings for this economical and healthy dish on hand. If your crew is carb avoidant or gluten intolerant, use whatever “pasta” you like: whole-grain noodles, “zoodles,” rice, quinoa, etc.

In terms of the greens, you can use arugula, escarole, spinach, kale or broccoli or you can pull a package of strategically purchased frozen spinach out of the freezer and dinner’s nearly ready.  Throw in any additional veggies that are past their prime but not quite ready to be composted: tomatoes, cauliflower, peppers, cabbage, peas, beans, herbs — whatever you’ve got.

Pantry Pasta

Serves 4 generously

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, or 1 tablespoon chopped, jarred garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups greens past their prime, or 1 package frozen greens
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup pasta water or vegetable broth (may not need it all)
  • 1 can white or garbanzo beans, drained
  • Parmesan cheese for serving

Heat a large pot of well-salted water to boiling and cook pasta to al dente — 1 minute less than the package directions. Reserve ¾ cup cooking water.

While the water is heating and the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the garlic, onion, salt and pepper until fragrant. Add the greens and veggies, then add the beans. Cook at a simmer for about 8 minutes, or longer, until the greens and veggies are tender.

Drain the pasta, and pour it into a skillet. Add the cooking water or broth as needed to distribute the sauce. Add the cheese and stir; serve immediately, with additional cheese at the table.

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