A couple of posts ago, I revealed one of my worst habits to you: buying produce and not using it all. Every single week, without fail it happens; I start out with the best intentions to eat well and not be lazy, but it just goes awry.
This week, add to that the fact that the basil I’ve been growing was going through the STRUGGLE! So, I quickly plucked some of the not-too-floppy leaves and decided to get less lazy and more creative.
I’ll give you the step-by-step instructions, since I know that can be helpful, but I’ll add some notes throughout in case your veggies on-hand were a bit different than mine. Can’t wait to hear how yours comes out!
‘BEFORE IT GOES BAD’ PASTA
What You Need (aka What I Had On-Hand)
2 cups yellow cherry tomatoes (or 1 container from the store)
2 red peppers (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/3 bag of angel hair pasta
handful of fresh basil
2 TBSP olive oil (maybe more)
lots of fresh Parmesan cheese
1 TBSP Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Salt, black pepper, crushed red peppers (all optional and according to your taste preferences)
What You Do:
Start cooking the pasta in a pot (NOTE: I used angel hair pasta because it’s what I had. You can use anything)
While it’s cooking, in a small skillet, warm up the olive oil on medium-low flame and add garlic
Add chopped peppers after about 2 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t get too brown. The goal here is to flavor the oil, which will be your sauce. If the veggies soak up too much of the oil, definitely add more! (NOTE: I didn’t have any onions or shallots, but those would also be great to add at this stage if you have some). Stir occasionally, and let cook for about as long as the pasta takes, unless the garlic begins to get really brown, then you’re done.
While all of this is cooking, halve the tomatoes, wash and julienne the basil so it’s ready to go. (NOTE: use fresh Parmesan cheese so it melts thanks to the hot pasta and sauce)
Once the cooking is done, combine everything and enjoy!
Messiness – The cutting board, one pot and one small skillet are the only equipment needed, though that is more than just one bowl, so I’m not sure if I’d say this isn’t messy, but it’s certainly not something that will destroy your kitchen.
Simplicity – Super simple! All of the prep is done in stages while other things are cooking. It may seem a little involved, but you’re done within 30 minutes, and I had enough to take to work for three days worth of lunches. Also, nothing is terribly difficult to where you need to pay lots of attention to it.
Budget – It’s as expensive as the ingredients you already bought, or want to buy. As with most of my recipes, olive oil is the most expensive part, but even with how much I use it, one bottle usually lasts me for months.
Delicousness – Pasta, cheese, veggies, and a garlicky sauce… I’m not sure what else I could want out of a fresh lunch!