I'm always one to choose cooking a meal from scratch over taking shortcuts, but there are days when I get carried away with painting and work and life. Dinnertime sneaks up on me and I’ve got nothing in the fridge…what do I do?! Head to my pantry, naturally.
I have to confess, I’m not the best at keeping a well stocked pantry. I’m seriously overdue for a pantry packing grocery trip. I customized and repainted the pantry [and I LOVE it!], but now I’ve got so much room for all the fixings for last minute meals. There’s much potential, but it’s often left fairly sparse. I’ll update you as I rework my pantry, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share my favorite Italian dish made in minutes, and all with ingredients you could have on hand in a pinch.
If I’m wanting to create a beautiful, simple meal in under half an hour, all I really need are three things: good sauce, good pasta and good wine. When it comes to sauce, I can actually throw together a fantastic marinara in minutes, but when I’m in a real rush, popping open a jar, warming it up and stirring in pasta doesn’t any easier.
My mom was nice enough to stop by our local Italian Market [if you live in Atlanta, do check out Toscano & Sons in Virginia Highland]. She picked up a box of bucatini [one of my favorite pastas that can be tough to find at any old grocery], a jar of arrabiata sauce and a bottle of Chianti. All three items [though I prefer to keep Cabernet Sauvignon on hand since it’s my jam] are must have pantry items.
Our dinner was impeccable, and it only took 20 minutes to prepare [most of that time was just waiting for the water to boil!]. I had shrimp in the freezer, which were a cinch to defrost and cook in olive oil for a minute or two per side. To that pan, I just add the jar of pasta sauce, and all that’s left to do is toss the bucatini in.
If you’re wanting to beef up this meal, you could easily add in a couple handfuls of spinach, some sliced bell pepper. If you’re not a shrimp eater, grilled chicken works well or chick peas [a personal favorite of mine!].