• Home
  • Services/Classes
  • Food Writing
  • Cookbooks
  • Travel
  • Sources/Links
  • Contact

“What’s in the Pantry” Pasta

May 30, 2011 | Fish & Seafood, Pasta & Pizza, Technique

use up what's in your pantry for a versatile pasta dish with shrimp and sausageMy daughter was recently lamenting that one of her biggest motivators to attend culinary school (she’ll be doing Johnson & Wales’ one year “Garnish Your Degree” program when she graduates from college) is to learn how to cook without a recipe. Boy, can I ever relate to that. In fact, it was my frustration that I felt like a great cook from a recipe, but lost when trying to figure it out on my own, that led me to start taking cooking classes. And that eventually led me to a career as a cooking teacher and food writer.One of the first areas I started experimenting with was pasta. I started to see that you could envision the protein, what vegetables might taste good with that, what kind of sauce you’d like, add in aromatics and some cheese, and voila – dinner on the table. Today I teach this class occasionally called “What’s For Dinner?” and we do just that – peruse the pantry, figure out what looks good and sounds tasty, and start cooking.

Here’s how this pasta dish came together (and this is the order I decided things). My husband said he wanted a shrimp and pasta dish. I found a small amount of shrimp in the freezer, but not enough for two people. I also found a small amount of Italian sausage left from one of my husband’s baked pasta dishes. Since he never wraps things well and they get freezer burn quickly, I decided to use both the shrimp and sausage. For vegetables, I found a small amount of fresh spinach in the refrigerator that was going to go bad if I didn’t use it soon, along with a couple of tomatoes that were also near the end of their life. I added some diced onion and minced garlic for my aromatics, and decided a cream sauce would be nice (it mixes with cooking tomatoes to give you a kind of pink sauce).

As for the cooking process, I browned the sausage along with the minced onion, then added the spinach and tomatoes to cook down, along withe the garlic. I poured in some heavy cream and let that just come up to a boil to start thickening, then threw the peeled shrimp on top, covered the pan, and turned it off. The steam and heat from the sauce cooked the shrimp while I cooked the pasta. I tossed the cooked pasta with the sauce and let it meld for a minute, then stirred in some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and adjusted the seasonings. The whole meal was done in about 20 minutes.

Don’t be shy about breaking away from recipes and trying something on your own – you just might surprise yourself and your family!

Comments

2 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. This same methodology has been a mainstay in our home for years. What vegetables from the garden were in abundance? Make some pasta. What leftovers did we need to get rid of? Make some pasta.

    I should probably call some of my dishes ‘Costco Pasta’ and you know why…stuff has to be used up and pasta is a quick and easy way to do that!

    Reply

  2. This is a great post Michele. I’m one of those recipe dependent people but have been doing better over the last few years.

    Reply

Leave a Reply



Restaurant Reviews

  • mccormick and schmicks lobster salad
  • cooking matters new logo
  • tamayo
  • mustard's chili dog with a taste of fries
  • tapas
  • steubens blackened chicken club
  • spuntino denver tuna salad

My Cookbooks

TASTING_COLORADO_FRONTCOVER Taste_of_Washington_FRONTCOVER

Search by Ingredient

almonds apples arugula Asian asparagus avocado bacon balsamic basil beans beef beets bison braising broccoli brunch butter cabbage cake carrots celery cheese chicken chiles chili chocolate cilantro coconut cookbook cookies corn cranberries CSA cucumber curry dips eggplant eggs fennel feta cheese gardens garlic giveaway goat cheese grains grilling herbs ice cream Italian kale lamb leeks leftovers lemon lime Mexican mint muffins mushrooms nuts oats olive oil onions orange pancetta parsley peppers pesto pickles pine nuts pizza plums pork potatoes quinoa rice ricotta roasting salmon sausage shrimp soy spaghetti spinach squash stews strawberries sushi sweet potatoes swiss chard tarragon Thanksgiving tomatoes tortillas tuna turkey vegetarian vinegar yogurt zucchini

About Michele



Chef Profile - CO Homes & Lifestyles

CHL with books 7-2014
Get the Cooking with Michele ® Newsletter
Email:

Help End Hunger




Other Stuff

Follow Michele Morris / Cooking with Michele's board Party Food - Great Appetizers on Pinterest.


my foodgawker gallery




Sommelier Courses and Wine Classes from the International Wine Guild Wine School

The International Wine Guild Wine School



MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected



Archives