I have a new challenge post coming up soon (finally). In the meantime, I want to share with you a list of simple recipes for pasta that you can throw together, usually in the time it takes to cook the pasta. Many of these recipes are particularly suitable for this time of year, when you (a) don’t want to spend a lot of time in a hot kitchen, and (b) have access to abundant fresh produce and herbs.
Pasta, Risotto-Style: I like this with orzo but it will work with almost any pasta shape. Saute diced onion in butter over medium-high. Add 1-1/2 cups orzo or other cut pasta. To make a complete meal, you can add other vegetables or pre-cooked meat. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Add 3 cups stock. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir every few minutes until tender, about 15 minutes, adding more stock if needed. Garnish with grated Parmesan and minced herbs.
Quick Vegetable Sauce: Puree cooked vegetables. Thin with cream or stock and heat gently. Top with grated cheese, as appropriate.
Pesto: Puree 2 cups basil or other herbs, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or other nuts and 1/2 cup Parmesan until smooth.
Raw Tomato Sauce: Chop 1 garlic clove with a handful of basil. Combine with 2-3 diced tomatoes. Toss with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
Canned Tomato Sauce: Saute 1/2 minced onion or 2 minced garlic cloves in olive oil or butter over medium-low until golden. Add 1 14-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes, or the equivalent in fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped. Stir in 1 tablespoon tomato paste, if a thicker sauce is desired. Cook about 10 minutes and season with salt and pepper. You can eat it now or simmer up to an hour. This sauce takes well to all kinds of additions so experiment by adding any cooked veggies or meats, pesto or fresh herbs, some soft cheese, a little wine, etc.
This list was first posted on Quora.