Easy Peasy Pasta

There are some specific criteria to being a successful home cook. The most important thing, in my opinion, is to have food in the house! That may not sound very profound, but no one, not even Gordon Ramsay, can prepare food without basics in the pantry and refrigerator. It’s just impossible.

It’s not only necessary to have ingredients available, it’s so much less expensive to cook with those ingredients, instead of going out for restaurant food or contacting a delivery service.

Some staples I must have in my pantry include pasta, grains, and legumes.

Canned products are essential, especially canned tomatoes. I also love canned beans because I feel they’re a quality ingredient, and I always have canned tuna on hand.

I like to keep milk products like canned coconut milk, evaporated milk, and goat milk on hand as well.

Besides canned products, it’s necessary to have staples such as oils and vinegars, or at least one of each! Plus sweeteners and unique pastes.

Refrigerated items that are important to me are sauces and condiments. If I want to make any kind of dish with Asian ingredients, like a quick noodle soup, I can simply reach for hoisin sauce, smoked sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, and Gochujang. But if you only want mayo and mustard, that’s fine too!

The refrigerator is also where I keep my nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Butter, eggs, and cheese are definite refrigerator staples for me, as are demi glaces. But cream, yogurt, and even ricotta can help in a pinch, whether you’re cooking an Italian dish such as a pasta, or an Indian curry.

The freezer comes in handy, also, for storing frozen vegetables and stock.

Which brings me to this pasta dish. It’s a perfect example of preparing a quick and easy meal with just a few basic ingredients. It’s a dish that can be made on a weeknight after work, or after a vacation when you’re too tired to put much effort in to whipping up a meal, and have no fresh produce.

Easy Peasy Pasta
printable recipe below

12-16 ounces pasta, a pretty shape or color
1 – 15 ounce carton whole-milk ricotta, at room temperature
12 ounce package of frozen peas
Parmesan, optional

Boil a large pot of salted water, and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, scoop the ricotta cheese into a large, heatproof bowl; set aside.

Gently heat the frozen peas in the microwave. I place a little folded paper towel in the bottom of the bowl for excess liquid, but drain them if there’s a significant amount of water.

Drain the pasta when it’s cooked, then add it hot to the bowl with the ricotta. Stir gently.

If necessary, thin with a little milk or cream, or even a little butter. (All staples!) Or, use a little pasta water.

Add the peas and incorporate. Taste for salt and pepper.

Place the pasta in individual bowls or a serving bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired.

I used a few toasted pine nuts on top of the pasta for some texture. And that’s it! (Also another staple of mine.)

This recipes shows how good a very simple and basic cooking can be, using what you have in your kitchen.

Now, for a heartier meal, you can add some garbanzo beans from a can… from your pantry! I love the heartiness of pasta and beans in the same dish.

Also, rotisserie chicken or even smoked salmon would be wonderful added to the pasta. Or, canned tuna.

Cooking truly isn’t difficult, and it definitely doesn’t have to be time consuming.

Keep your pantry and refrigerator stocked with basics. That way, you’re naturally creative in the kitchen, not wasteful, and can cook in a pinch!


53 thoughts on “Easy Peasy Pasta

  • Great post with all those good ideas for stand-bys. I often make up a quick pasta sauce like this from just a couple of ingredients and apart from tasting nicer and being cheaper than ready-made, it’s alway so quick to prepare.

    • Exactly. Of course, you and I know that cooking is not hard, nor does it necessarily take a long time. But you do have to have some staples on hand!

  • Besides the refrigerator we have three freezers, one of them devoted to dry ingredients like nuts, seeds, grains and flours. We rarely need to make the six mile trip to town for a missing ingredient.

    • So smart. We can’t get too carried away with volume because we lose electricity often enough that it would be too depressing to lose really important and expensive ingredients. But really smart to refrigerate nuts, seeds, and especially whole-grain products and flours.

      • The dry ingredients will keep just fine during an extended power outage. The other freezers hold mostly garden produce. We have had losses from power outages before we got a generator. Still, I really should do more canning and less freezing. Freezing is the easy, lazy solution to excess produce.

  • Looks very similar to my pantry/refrigerators (2). Drop in guests – no problem as there is always something to eat in my kitchen and often a number of choices. My freezer(s) are full of leftovers, fruits and veggies to be cooked at any time!

    • There’s no other way, is there?!! It’s just smart. And I like the creativity that comes from cooking that way.

  • It’s always good to have some staples in the pantry and fridge for when you need it. Unfortunately, I have a smallish fridge and freezer . Your pasta looks great.

    • Well it depends more how many people you cook for, I think. Here, anymore, it’s just my husband and myself.

  • Fantastic post for the beginner cook, and even the well-seasoned ones just for the peek at your stocked cupboards! Love it! And pasta, peas and cheese are always a great dish to whip up on a busy night.

    • Oh yes, delicious! I wanted to come up with a recipe that didn’t require anything but pantry basics, but I always have onion and garlic on hand!

  • You make a really good point about having a variety of quality ingredients at hand. I do believe and follow the credo that most of the time I can really pull off a good meal that is more pleasing to me personally than when we go out. There are exceptions, always, but in general I’m happiest eating at home. I enjoyed looking through your cupboards and shelves, refrigerator and freezer. I like to stand in the grocery line and see what people are purchasing, too. It’s always interesting to me. I don’t know Boiled Cider, but I will investigate. :-) The pasta looks yummy!

    • Thanks. I’m pretty sure it’s just reduced cider, which I’ve even done myself before (I reduce all leftover liquids!) but because it has a subtle apple flavor, I’ve used it at Thanksgiving in gravy, in a vinaigrette, and you can use it just about any time as a honey substitute. It’s my second bottle – you’ll find many uses for it!

  • I agree with your opening lines and with your pantry stores…. I was only chatting to a fellow blogger the other day about the joys of pantry and fridge organising… it is one of my more enjoyable tasks as it always gets the creative cooking juices flowing 😊.

    • That is certainly what we have in common with many good home cooks. Being creative. And not being wasteful. When I was raising my kids, we didn’t have a lot of money, and if there was one carrot in the refrigerator, I used it, whether I chopped it or grated it or juiced, I used it. That actually helped with my creativity .

  • Mimi,we share a similar pantry, except my labels are in Swedish. What a wonderful easy inexpensive dish to prepare. Looks yummy. Ever tried pea pesto pasta??

  • You have a well-stocked pantry! It’s nice having all those ingredients at hand, isn’t it? So you can make dishes like this easy peasy pasta without needing to run to the store for ingredients. This looks terrific — thanks so much.

    • It’s really good. It could be more complicated, but it’s a good way to show how simple cooking can be.

    • Oh, parsley is wonderful. Unfortunately it’s an annual here, so for many months I have none in the garden.

    • Pastas are so much fun – the shapes, sizes, colors, and grains… but my husband doesn’t wish to eat much pasta, and it’s just him and me anymore… But when I see a few fun pastas, I definitely buy them.

  • You are certainly well stocked! We rely on the freezer a lot to buy food that’s on offer/reduced as so expensive. I stock up on loads of things when we go to the UK or get my spices sent here. That pasta looks perfect – we always have peas!

    • It’s so smart to utilize the freezer. We have to be careful because we live in the country, so we lose electricity often. I can’t stock up on lots of meat for that reason.

  • When you live in the country, as we do, far from anything except a Walmart (ugh), it’s imperative to have a fully-stocked pantry, fridge and freezer. But as my cleaning lady always says: “You’ve got so much food here, but there’s nothing to EAT.” :)

  • Mimi! You are my antithesis! The picture you have with the box of purple corn – that is what my cupboards often look like. I’m on a constant quest to unload them! Of course I believe in having things on hand – as you suggest, you’d be hard pressed to make dinner without stuff in your cupboards. But my approach is more austere. I’m an everyday grocery shopper – which is a ritual that I love – so I try to keep only the essentials (primarily things that, if I suddenly run out, I know I’ve got a spare) around. Having said that, though, I realize that I’m a bit odd – and truth is, making dinner in your house is probably like a carnival of fun! You’ve got so many interesting things!

  • Pantry staples are an absolute must for any home. It can save you a fortune at meal time. I love how easy and delicious this pasta is.

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