The Dinner Project: Week 6

February 22, 2011

Whenever I see recipes in cooking magazines that are to be made from staples that allegedly exist in the readers kitchen, I always feel a little envious. Envious of whoever these people are out there with totally awesome ingredients just lingering in their cupboards for weeks on end, patiently waiting to be whipped up into a simple 20 minute meal on a random Tuesday night. In my wildest cooking dreams, I like to think that my cupboards would be a bit fancy, but for now, you will not find that long lost jar of garlic stuffed olives or that bag of pistachios hidden in the back of the cupboard for a rainy day. Most likely because when I bought them, I ate them. And they were delicious.

For the most part, the ingredients in my kitchen that are in it for the long haul, tend to be pretty basic. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, stuff like that. Parsley is my latest addition to the staples list, along with a small container of cream after I discovered that the difference between butternut squash soup that tastes like health versus butternut squash soup that tastes of silky deliciousness, is a mere few tablespoons of cream. It has such unassuming power, and I admire that about it.

So my friends, here’s a recipe for my latest quick and easy dinner that consists of actual ingredients almost everyone has in their kitchen at any given time. Even when you’re down to the bare bones. It is such a simple meal but if you like garlic and have some good olive oil, it is truly delicious. I made it for the first time on new years day when Kim was here and have made it nearly every week since.

Bare Bones Pasta

Preparation time: about 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 minutes (you can cook the garlic while you cook the pasta)

Serves: 4


1/2 cup of olive oil (don’t skimp on the amount of oil here, it makes all the difference in the world)

6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (or more if you like it super duper garlicy, this too is a key ingredient)

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

A pinch of red pepper flakes, for those of you who like a little heat

Salt and freshly ground pepper

A can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (or you could add shrimp instead which would bring it up to a whole other level)

One pound of pasta, such as linguine or spaghetti


1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat while you chop up the garlic. Add the garlic to the pot and cook, stirring often, for about 6 – 8 minutes until it is lightly toasted but not too brown. If it is browning too quickly, lower the heat.

2. While the garlic is cooking, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until a minute or two before it’s fully cooked. Reserve 3/4 cup of pasta water.

3. When the pasta is done, add the reserved 3/4 cup pasta water to the garlic along with the pasta, garbanzo beans, parsley and red pepper flakes. Mix it together using a pair of tongs or two wooden spoons and continue cooking for another minute or so until the pasta is fully cooked. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

4. Enjoy!

P.S….if you were to use shrimp instead of garbanzo beans, add them to the garlic the last few minutes and cook until opaque, about 3 minutes.

The Dinner Project: Week 6

Monday, February 14 – Valentines Day (any excuse to make a nice dinner is cool with me). Soft corn tortillas filled with chipotle shrimp and avocado-tomatillo salsa. For dessert, thin mints that we bought from the girl scouts outside of Lowes. Drill bits and cookies all in one trip. Can’t beat that.

Tuesday, February 15 – Vegetarian beer brats, sauted mushrooms, kalamata olives and feta wrapped in corn tortillas (we got home late and worked with what we had. it was a slightly bizarre flavor combination but it was food and that was as high as our expectations went that night)

Wednesday, February 16 – Dinner party at a friend’s place. Jambalaya, black-eyed pea hash and jalapeno corn bread. Yum.

Thursday, February 17 – Bare Bones Pasta (recipe and photo above)

Friday, February 18 – Take out sandwiches from Mitchell Deli (I love this place and I love a good sandwich). I had a Turkey, Apple, Brie and Drew had Pastrami with roasted garlic, some type of awesome carroty slaw and whole grain mustard. A delicious way to end the week.

Saturday, February 19 – Smoked salmon sandwich at Coopers with Ron & Lynda who were in town for the weekend

Sunday, February 20 – Black bean salad at The Melrose with Ron & Lynda


4 Responses to “The Dinner Project: Week 6”

  1. amberruth Says:

    Aglio, olio e peperoncino mixed with pasta con ceci! Cool! Anyway, aglio, olio is what Italians eat when they have an attack of hunger. I usually eat it, when as you say, there’s nothing else..

  2. grwhryrpltd Says:

    drill bits and cookies… love it. the last time i bought girl scout cookies (on a similar home improvement trip) i was actually disappointed that they didn’t taste as i had remembered. maybe their $8 a box price tag(?!) jaded the flavor a bit. ah well. the smile on the girl scout/future entrepreneur’s face after purchasing them was worth it.

    • That’s kind of how I felt too! They tasted a little more plasticy or something. But I’m a sucker for young entreprenuers, and frozen thin mints crumbled on top of ice cream is not a bad way to finish a long day. : )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: