Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Easy Pasta

The Texan here today and, like the Belle, I like to watch the Pioneer Woman. A few weeks ago I saw her make what she called pantry pasta, named such because she used whatever she had in her pantry.

It looked so good, I had to try my own version. That's one thing great about this recipe. You start with a base, then add what you like.

Here are Ree's ingredients:
  • 1/2 whole red onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • One 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup assorted olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. pasta, cooked al dente and drained
  • 2-4 Tbsp. jarred pesto
  • 1/2 cup fork-chunked feta cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. pine nuts
My ingredients varied somewhat. First of all, I do not like olives. So, I added some capers for a subtle olive flavor and substituted some mushrooms. Hubby wanted meat, so I added some boiled shrimp.

First, you'll want to toast the pine nuts. I love these things. And they taste nothing at all like a Christmas tree.
Toast them dry, in a skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally. In a few minutes, they become a nice golden brown. That's when you remove them from the heat and transfer to another container.

Saute onions in large skillet over medium heat until soft.

Then add the tomatoes, chicken stock, olives (I added capers and sliced mushrooms), artichoke hearts, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cooked pasta (you can use whatever you like/have on hand. I used rotini) and stir to combine with sauce.

Remember that pesto I made a couple of weeks ago?

And, finally, the cooked shrimp.

To serve, spoon into bowl, and top with pine nuts and feta.

Unless you don't like feta (like my guys), then you add some parmesean.

Even our vegetarian friends will like this one. And it's so yummy.

You can see why Ree calls it Pantry Pasta. You can use whatever you have in your pantry. I love versitile recipes like this. I can do it with or without meat. I can clean out my fridge too. But them pine nuts, I gotta have 'em.

I wish I could have found a way to make it more fitting with the red, white, and blue, but flavor trumps. I just don't think blueberries would have cut it.

Happy Independance Day, everyone!


  1. Hey Mindy,

    You could serve that up with a side order of blue corn chips and then you'd have your red, white and blue! This looks great. I like the idea of throwing in whatever you have in the fridge. This will be a good end of the week (or in my case two weeks) meal to clear out the fridge and cupboards before grocery day kind of meal. And neat too because you can tailor it to single servings even. This ones a keeper.

    I actually have a can of tomatoes on hand and some veggie broth. I only have cheddar though, but I bet it will do just fine. Think I've just firmed up my dinner plans! Ohhh...even have some sourdough spelt bread to go with. Yum.

    Burning questions:

    What is al dente coooked pasta?
    Who is the Pioneer Woman and why does she call herself that? (This doesn't look like a pioneer recipe to me.)

    1. LOL! You know, Kav, you were on my mind as I posted this recipe. I thought, "Kav will love this."

      Ree Drummond is the Pioneer Woman. She has a show on the Food Network by the same name. She also has a blog/website you might enjoy. http://thepioneerwoman.com/

      But you're right, this is not a pioneer recipe.

      As for al dente, it's when the pasta is just barely tender. Not mushy. I just use the minimum time on the box.

      Hope you enjoy your supper :-)

    2. I almost forgot, Kav, I love the idea about the blue corn chips. That would definitely make it festive.

    3. Oh my gosh -- what a great website!!!! And I just happened upon it as a photo of Strawberry Sparkle Cake came up. Of course I followed the link. Mmmmm -- hollowed out angel food cake and fill it with strawberry sparkle and frost with whipped cream. I am so making that for the next crowd that comes over.

      I don't get the show here in Canada - might be because I don't subscribe to the right cable package or it might just not be available but I'll check in on the blog to keep up to date. Man, I'm thrilled to be in the know about the pioneer woman! I feel like one of the 'in' crowd now! LOL

  2. This may be supper tonight! I love that combo, but I don't have pine nuts...

    Although I have a few scraggly pines.

    Maybe they're girls????

    Just thinking out loud.


    Kav, loving the burning questions!!!!

    1. Ruthy, you crack me up. That's the kind of joke I would make.

  3. This looks like something I would love...and I can change whatever I need to make it appeal to my family! (despite their appetites, they're awfully picky eaters)

    I hope everyone has a wonderful Independence Day! Our plans have had to change dramatically: The trip to Jewel Cave is out because of a forest fire in the area - no traffic on the highway leading to it. No grilled steak - only gas grills allowed because of the fire danger, and we have charcoal. No fireworks - at all.

    BUT, we will have birthday cake!

  4. obviously some pantries are fancier than others LOL! I've barely heard of pine nuts and have no idea where to find them unless they're hidden in the spice/flour/sugar aisle - no man's land as I call that part of the store!
    this must be a dish she eats herself - I can't see marlboro man eating this dish - not without a huge slab of beef on the side! sounds good to me though!

  5. Susanna, pine nuts are mad expensive, but delicious. We usually toast them and toss them into salads.

    Hi Mindy, I commented earlier but I think my iPad ate it. This recipe is very similar to one I use a lot. My daughter is vegan so she and I eat lots of veggie-based meals which the husband will not eat. So, while he's having his hamburger, we have some concoction like this.

    I like to add garlic, onions, zucchini (yellow and green), artichokes, olives, tomatoes (canned or fresh). Sometimes I'll add in some leaf spinach or some kale. Whatever needs to be used up.

    I've never added the pasta in; I usually put that (or rice noodles) on a plate and add the veggie mix on top. Then I add cheese for me (none for the vegan).

    It's one of my favorite meals!

  6. I somehow missed this post!! Mindy, this looks delicious!!