In my book, I encourage people to take a brief inventory before going to the store. Have a look in the cupboard, the fridge, under the bed and in the trunk of the car before you head to Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery. My wife has never heeded this advice. Currently, we have 5 tubs of cream cheese and 4 jars of olives. Until yesterday we had 6 cartons of Half and Half, and she is the only one that uses it. However, there are a few staples that I feel you can never have enough of.
I don’t like to indulge in expensive ingredients unless it’s a special occasion. I make a few exceptions. Parmesan cheese is one of them. Whenever possible, I buy a big hunk of really, really good parmesan. We use it often and I have never had it go bad; it doesn’t hang around that long. I also buy good butter, really good olive oil and, when I use it, really good Italian cured meats. These things do not have to be expensive; they just need to be well sourced. We have an amazing meat shop near us in New York that has the very best prosciutto and it’s not expensive at all. In fact, the prosciutto at Whole Foods is twice the price and half as good. Keep your eyes peeled for good sources and keep plenty of your favorites on hand.
This recipe is all about making a quick and easy meal when you have virtually nothing in the cupboard. Since I always keep dried pasta, butter, olive oil and really good parmesan on hand, I can always eat. I hope you do the same.
- Handful of Penne or whatever you have
- 1 Tablespoon Butter and or Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan, grated
- Salt and Pepper
- Large Pan or Pot
- Boil enough water to cook the pasta.
- Salt the water once it is boiling.
- Drop a large handful of pasta and stir occasionally until al dente.
- Drain and place in bowl.
- Melt the butter and/or drizzle with olive oil and grate the parmesan and toss.
- Pepper liberally and have with a simple salad.
Variations can include a little Italian parsley chopped on top, some red chili flakes or some oregano.