Let me start by saying this… I am one of those people that like to cook from scratch. I don’t really like bottled sauces, boxed meals or canned food. Being realistic though, there are days when I have to take shortcuts, and exceptions must be made, especially when it comes to preparing meals in a hurry. Today is one of those days. My husband is taking me on a last minute surprise and though I should be excited and fawning over how great he is, I must first get dinner on the table for the girls.
Pasta is always quick. It cooks in 9 minutes. This particular spiral one takes 7 minutes plus it is a fun shape that my kids love.
This meal is really simple and easy to prepare. It takes less than 15 minutes and results in clean plates and happy smiles (which also allows me to get ready and leave the house without a crying “Don’t go!” fuss).
- 2 cups Spiral Pasta (to be cooked according to the package instructions)
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- 8 local tomatoes
- 1/8 cup crumbled mozzarella
- 1 tablespoon Barilla Pesti alla Calabrese (a bottled sauce I will make an exception for)
I start by putting a pot of water over high heat and leaving it to boil. While waiting, I prep my sauce ingredients by mincing the garlic then seeding and chopping the tomatoes. After, I crumble the mozzarella cheese. Feel free to replace this to suit your taste preference.
At this point the pasta water will already be boiling so drizzle olive oil on it and add a teaspoon of sea salt then pour in the pasta.
As the pasta cooks I take my prepped ingredients and make the simple sauce. Heat olive oil in a shallow pan and set to medium. Add garlic and let soften. This takes around 2 minutes. Then add tomatoes and sauté. When garlic and tomatoes are tender, add the Barilla bottled sauce. If you taste this on its own it may seem too spicy to serve to kids but it becomes muted when mixed with the garlic, tomatoes, cheese and pasta. Once the sauce combines with the rest of the ingredients, add the cheese and leave it to simmer until it is completely melted into the sauce, about 3 minutes. You may season this is you like but I feel it is unnecessary.
I spoon the pasta straight from the pot so that a bit of the starchy water can add texture to the dish. A quick toss before serving and it’s ready. If there is one thing that I can promise, it is that it is a tasty and comforting dish. The flavor reminds me of homemade cheese pimiento spread. I am not going to pretend that it is the most healthy thing that you can give your child but it is not unhealthy either plus it still beats mac and cheese! I sometimes pair a meal like this with steamed broccoli or green beans for the added vitamins and minerals. Tonight, I opt for citrus fruit so that they don’t ask me for dessert!
As much as I would like to be super woman and serve them 4-course meals all the time, I have to be resigned to the fact that it is impossible. And today will just be a simple but yummy pasta… and it is all right.
Off to get excited and fawn over how great my husband is!