"Pantry" Pasta



I made this for dinner after a rather overwhelming day at work when all I wanted to do was fall into bed but needed sustenance before I could do that, preferably a bowl of comforting pasta that I could get to the table quickly, without having to think about it.


I put water on to boil as I fed the cats and heard about their day (one of my cats is VERY chatty), checked for mail, changed into my PJs and poured myself a glass of wine. By the time I did that, the water was boiling. I added my pasta to the water to cook and then opened the fridge to see what I had to hand that I could add to the final dish.


I had some goat's cheese lurking in the bottom shelf of the fridge, a zucchini in the hydrator and a late summer tomato in the fruit bowl, all of which suggested a slightly Mediterranean direction of cooking. For such an unplanned dish, this was a surprising pleasure to eat.


While the pasta cooked, I grated the zucchini and placed the raw shreds into the colander into which I was going to drain the pasta. I chopped the tomato and set it aside. I crumbled the goat's cheese into pieces.


As soon as the pasta was done, i poured it into the colander atop the zucchini to drain, reserving a few teaspoons of the pasta water before I did so.


I placed the pan back on the hob along with a knob of butter and tossed in the diced tomato and the tomato juices. As soon as the butter had melted, I added the pasta and zucchini back into the pan, stirred everything really well to combine the various ingredients, before adding the goat's cheese and the pasta water to the pan and stirring again like crazy. A bit of salt and pepper and -- voilà -- a lovely bowl of pasta to be eaten in front of the television.


I called this pastry pasta because one can always find something lurking in fridge or pantry from which to make a quick and comforting pasta dinner. Tinned beans or fish work well with chopped herbs, an onion caramelized with butter and added to the pasta along with some Parmesan is a hearty feast, leftover roasted vegetables can be pureed into a silky sauce...