Thursday, July 22, 2010

Use What You Got! (Spicy Pasta)

Ever have just one celery stalk leftover? Or tomatoes too ripe? And in your pantry you find about a cup of pasta noodle? In my home we always have noodles and we always have some sort of canned sauce around...Well here is it, easy fancy meals made using whatever you have, believe me it is healthy and delicious! I just started out with whatever I found, do the same for yours!

Tina's Favorite Pasta
-whatever you have! ... not joking
-handful of spaghetti, 1 1/2 cup of bow tie pasta
-2X ripe tomatoes, carrots, celery
-1/2 medium white onion
-1 large can of tomato sauce (I had spicy red pepper)
-salt & pepper to season
-OPTIONAL: shrimp, chicken, seasoning salt, garlic salt, cilantro to garnish

How To:
 Wash your vegetables. Chop the celery about 1 cm thick, peel and chop your carrots the same size. Do the same for your onion. Put your saucepan on the stove and turn the heat to medium high. Give a good splash of oil, I used EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).

Throw in your trio medley stirring a bit and then cover, turn heat down to just medium. Let it sweat and release juices. You can add 1/4 cup of water if the pot is drying out. Cover with lid. I use this time to do other things like dance around the kitchen =)

Chop your ripe tomatoes preserving as much juice as you can, so don't put too much pressure on them. I like to use fresh tomatoes in my pasta sauces because it gives a little more body and fresh flavor. You can rough puree your tomatoes if you don't like biting into one. With fresh tomatoes requires a little more salt to adjust to your own taste.
After a couple mins of sweating vegetables, take the lid off to see if they've soften or if something burnt! Put in your tomatoes and stir!

Hopefully after a minute or so the tomato looks completely blended with the rest of the vegetables. You can put the sauce in! Stir well and make sure the heat is not too high or the sauce will bubble and hit you in the face. You just want to warm it up.
Turn the heat off once hot and season with garlic salt if handy, pepper. Stir in some chopped flat leaf parsley. (I secretly added some chili powder)

The reason I do sauce before noodles is because the noodles will take the shape of the colander and become sticky if they were done first and waiting for sauce to accompany! Make the sauce first because you can easily warm if back up but you can't detangle spaghetti.

Boil a large pot of water, salt it generously. Throw your pasta in when it bubbles big. I did some bow tie pasta first, that took less than 10 minutes, then i scooped it out and threw in my spaghetti. Cook until al dente (nearly done, but not too soft, it is not hard or under-cooked).

I had some shrimp handy, maybe only 8. Defrost, peel, butterfly it to remove the vein.

I also defrosted some chicken breast, I eat a lot of chicken and shrimp because I don't eat meat.

I gave those 3ounce chicken breasts a very generous seasoning of seasoning salt.
On to the mini grill it goes!
They'll be ready once the juices run clear. 

Let the chicken sit for awhile so the juices don't just run while cutting. Then cut the breasts up in nice little slices.

As for the shrimp, turn the sauce back onto high and stir them suckers in! The sauce will be hot and ready for the pasta which should be done soon.... right?

Drain the noodles, plate and scoop some sauce over. Top with some chicken slices.

MMM... Tina had 3 servings of this! There was enough for 6 GERNEROUS servings to be honest, interestingly enough I had company when this was done! My friend and sister in law enjoyed it!

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