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!