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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

 ~Chi mangia solo crepa solo~
 " He who eats alone dies alone"  
I agree with this old Italian proverb and I think that it not only applies to dining but all aspects of life. Having a full life rich with friends and family is messy, inconvenient, and sometimes difficult but when the hardships come, and they always do, you are never alone. My Dad who lives alone cooks for himself every night but recently confessed to me that he truly missed the companionship of enjoying a meal with another human, luckily he's moving here in September and we plan on having him over for meals quite often. But who has the time or money, well would you believe me if I told you it doesn't have to cost a lot...... in time or money!
Here is one of my favorite things to serve to large groups of people and it's basically just a few ingredients and since one pound of pasta will easily feed 8 people it goes far. This recipe is the basis for many classic dishes such as Pasta Carbonara, Pasta & Potato, and Pasta Primavera. 
All you need is: Pasta, Vegetable, Meat (This is optional), Cheese, with some bread and a salad on the side.
I start by seeing what type of meat I have, I only need about 6- 8 ounces:  1 or 2 sausages, a few slices of bacon, salami, ham, left over chicken or roast. 
Then I choose a pasta that goes with the chosen meat: bow-ties, spaghetti, orzo, penne......
Then we need some veggies: peas, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, a tomato whatever you have and goes with the meat.
Now for some cheese, Parmesan is almost always my choice but any good quality cheese grated will do. Now you saute the veggies and maybe some garlic and fresh herbs in some olive oil until soft then add the meat.
Meanwhile boil the pasta and reserve 2 cups of the water. Grate your cheese and prepare a quick salad. Drain the pasta (reserve 2 cups water first) and add straight to the saute pan of meat & veggeies. While it is cooking toss and add some water (starting with 1/2 cup) and toss until it is to the sauciness you desire. Add some cheese and toss some more...voile!
Serve with a salad and if you don't have bread ask your friends to pick some up on the way over!
Here is a recipe of something I threw together in 15 minutes using whatever left overs I had in my fridge/freezer and pantry.
Pasta w/ Peas and Salami
1 pound bow tie pasta 
1/2 pound frozen peas
1 medium onion chopped fine
6 ounces salami chopped very fine or chopped in processor until ground
salt and fresh ground black pepper pepper to taste
grated Parmesan (2 cups)
Start the pasta water.
Grate some Parmesan cheese.
Heat some olive oil in a large pan and saute the onion until soft, add salami and peas and continue sauteing until the pasta is ready.
Remove 2 cups of the pasta water before draining.
Add the pasta to the saute pan and add enough water (start with 1/2 cup) to make it saucy, tossing and allowing it to cook together for 1 minute.
Place in a large bowl, add cheese and a little more olive oil, and toss well.

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