Sometimes I have thought about what to open that night before 8am...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dinner Tonight - Fridge Pasta

I was menu planning yesterday, and decided (for once) to be smart about it. 

I opened the fridge to see what produce I had left from the week before that I needed to use. I found an open bag of arrugula (from some tarts I am posting later this week), some tomatoes on the vine that were thinking about wrinkling, half a Spanish Onion, and some lovely fresh basil.

Pasta was what came to mind, but when I went to the pantry there was only half a box of elbow macaroni. Bummer. I needed to go to the store. On the upside, I did find a jar of marinated artichokes in the pantry, so I got those out to use as well.

I headed out to Trader Joe's and I picked up a container of Spinach, Ricotta, and Mozzarella Tortellini for $2.99. It was the only thing that I purchased for last nights dinner, which means I effectively fed my family for $2.99! All by deciding to check the fridge and not waste food! But I digress...

Chop the tomatoes into big chunks (if you have a carton of leftover grape tomatoes just half them), chop your onion, mince your garlic, chiffonade the basil, drain the artichokes.

Cook tortellini according to package directions.

While the tortellini is cooking, heat a skillet over medium high heat, add some olive oil, toss in the onions and stir for a minute or two. Onions always need an extra minute in my experience. Toss in the garlic, tomatoes, artichokes, and basil. Allow to cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

When the tortellinis are cooked, drain them and toss them in the skillet with the tomato mixture. Stir for a minute or two so that all of the flavors are combined.

Put your arrugula in a large bowl and squeeze a generous amount of lemon over the top. Toss to coat. Arrugula and lemon is one of my very favorite combinations.

Fill each bowl with a serving of pasta, top with your arrugula (salad on top of pasta, yes I am crazy, but it was really, really good) and sprinkle with some lovely aged Parmesan (leftover from a party we catered).

Tim liked it so much he went back for seconds!

Do you have a favorite fridge/pantry pasta? I love the feeling of making something out of nothing. The feeling of serving my family a beautiful, nutritious dinner. And most of all the feeling of doing it all for $2.99!


  1. Your fridge pasta looks delicious! I just made my favorite go-to pasta dish -- the one I make when I haven't been to the grocery store. I usually have a bit of pancetta (or just plain bacon) in the fridge, so I start by sauteeing a few slices in a drizzle of olive oil while I throw some pasta in to boil (of course you can skip the pancetta part for vegetarians!). Today it was angel hair pasta, but it can be whatever's in the pantry. While the pasta's boiling, I chop a tomato or two (or halve cherry tomatoes), and grate some parmesan cheese. Drain the pancetta on paper towels, and throw the tomatoes in the same pan, along with a few shakes of cracked red pepper. Saute for just a minute or two. Drain the pasta (but keep a little bit of the pasta water in to smooth out the rest of the ingredients). Throw in the cheese and the tomato/cracked red pepper mixture, toss it all around, crumble the pancetta and toss it on top, and if you have some basil, throw some on top as well. Yum! Now I'm going to try yours!

  2. That sounds terrific! And holy cow would Tim go nuts for it... anything with pancetta, or bacon for that matter! Adding it to my list. Thanks