You know I love my pasta, and you may even know that I'm good at throwing things together at the last minute. What you may not know is that I put together a random pasta dish almost every week, and it's never the same twice. I wanted to post tonight's dinner so you can get an idea of how I come up with these meals.
Unlike my last version, this throw together pasta is not vegetarian. Andrew is not a fan of meals that don't include meat, so I try to keep certain items (like bacon and shrimp) in the freezer at all times. I stick to bacon and shrimp for a few reasons: they are quick to thaw, easy to incorporate into any dish, fast-cooking, and most importantly, I like them. See, I'm a little devious that way.
Throw Together Pasta: Version Two
The Fridge & Freezer Version
6 slices raw peppered bacon, chopped
1 lb. pasta (*see note below)
12-15 frozen shrimp
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 c. fresh mozzarella, diced
salt & pepper
red pepper flakes
To start, crisp the bacon in a large pan over medium high heat. It's okay if it doesn't get completely crispy, it will have more time to cook. I didn't need to, but depending on the quantity and type of bacon, it may be necessary to drain some of the fat.
Add the onions, peppers, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, and saute until vegetables soften.
In the meantime, put a pot of water on to boil for your pasta. I used cresti di gallo, a pasta shape that made the best mac & cheese ever - served at a restaurant I waitressed at here in Ohio. I never knew the name of the pasta shape until today, when I googled "ruffly elbow noodles" to try to find out what they were called. It didn't even say what it was on the box, so research was necessary.
Once you drop the pasta, throw your shrimp into the bacon/veggie pan, ladle in some pasta water, and put a lid on the pan. I used uncooked frozen shrimp straight from the freezer, shells on. Usually I thaw them, remove the tails, and devein them, but I was in a hurry and Andrew was hungry, so we peeled them ourselves while we ate.
While the pasta cooks, beat one egg in a small bowl.
Give the bacon/veggie mixture a stir, then dice the fresh mozzarella.
Drain the pasta - see how pretty?
Combine all ingredients in the pasta pot - the bacon/veggie mixture, the egg, the mozzarella, and the pasta. Stir to coat the pasta with the egg and evenly distribute the bacon, veggies, shrimp, and cheese.
Serve in bowls topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Andrew and I have come to love pasta night - I get to be creative, we get to use up various items in our fridge and freezer, and we always end up liking the results. Try your own throw together pasta next time you're short on time, ingredients, and ideas. Trust me, you'll like whatever you come up with.