We’ve been on a pasta kick lately. That’s what the toddler wants for lunch every day, I’m usually in a rush and the baby’s often freaking out around noon, so I’m happy to oblige. On goes the pot of water, and by the time it’s cooked, I’ve got a sauce of sorts figured out. I’ve become a master of quick pasta toppings that are easy and delicious. Here are the top four favourites that get rotated fairly regularly in our household.
1) Pasta with Tuna
Open and drain a can of tuna. Add to hot, drained pasta. Drizzle olive oil generously over top. Add a lot of freshly ground black pepper, pinch of kosher salt, and plenty of Parmigiano. Sometimes I add a handful of fresh greens, like arugula, or sautéed kale, if I have time. Toss, add more cheese, and eat. (I ignore the Italian custom of never mixing cheese and fish…)
2) Pasta with Tomatoes and Bacon
Sauté some bacon, sausage, ham, pancetta – whatever you’ve got. Chop into pieces. Sauté minced garlic, add a can of tomatoes, and simmer a couple of minutes. Add bacon pieces. Pour over hot, drained pasta. Add salt, pepper, Parmigiano, and toss well.
3) Pasta with Oil and Garlic (very basic)
Sauté garlic and hot pepper flakes in a generous amount of olive oil. Add some chopped parsley. Mix with hot, drained pasta. Season with salt, pepper, and Parmigiano. (This one takes well to variation. Sun-dried tomatoes, sliced olives, capers – whatever you want to boost flavour – will work well.)
4) Pasta with Pesto (of all kinds)
Grab a handful of fresh basil leaves, arugula, garlic scapes, or cilantro. Blend with olive oil, minced garlic, and a spoonful of pine nuts or walnuts to make a paste. Season with salt and pepper. Mix with hot, drained pasta. Add Parmigiano to taste.