Quick, Easy, and Elevated Pasta Night

Posted by Malissa Nelson on

Ever versatile, quick, and easy to make from pantry staples when the day has not allowed for a grocery run, and palatable for even the pickiest of eaters (Oliver, my son, I’m looking at you!), pasta is our go-to well-balanced dish.

Here are some ideas for creating your own quick pasta that is also anything but ordinary or boring. 

Keep it simple and stock the pantry staples. 

Our must-have ingredient list includes:

  • Dried pasta (I like long noodles like linguine for olive-oil based sauces. The kids prefer farfalle or rotini, of course.)
  • Good olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Nuts (toast and chop them for crunch)
  • San Marzano tomatoes
  • Crushed red chili pepper flake
  • Good sea salt for finishing

Keep on hand in the fridge 

  • Flat-leaf parsley
  • Anchovy paste
  • Hard, salty cheese (try Parmesan, Pecorino, or Piave to start)
  • Eggs (a poached or fried egg transforms any pasta into saucy goodness)
  • Bacon or pancetta


From your go-to staples the recipe possibilities are practicallly endless. Here’s a few of our favorite pasta recipes.


In the summer months: Chop up a bunch of super ripe tomatoes, douse with olive oil in a bowl, add a few cloves of smashed garlic, chopped basil, and salt. Let sit in a warm place for an hour. Toss with hot pasta when you're ready to eat. Throwing in some fresh mozzarella isn't the worst. 


My kids will not eat ground beef, but bacon...always a hit. So, the Heiroloom Family Kitchen team created a “cheater's” amatriciana. First, render bacon and then pull out and use the fat to sauté onions plus some chili flakes, then add canned tomatoes to make a quick sauce. Add back in the bacon, cooked pasta, and plenty of Parmigiano Reggiano. 

Or, try a simple carbonara. Beat a couple eggs, add a ton of grated Parmigiano and Pecorino and a bunch of roughly ground pepper. Render out some bacon, toss the pasta in the pork and pork fat for a bit. Take off the heat. Add the egg/cheese mixture. Toss till incorporated. 


I very often make a version of pantry staple-driven pasta with capers, garlic, anchovy, chili, parsley and lots of olive oil and lemon. Throw in some roasted cauliflower. Always delicious and easy. 


Pasta + peas. Season well with sea salt and freshly grated Parmesan. Simple, fresh, and oh so spring.  

Nutty and Herbaceous

I Iove making a rough chopped version of pesto: handfuls of mixed fresh herbs, garlic, and nuts of your choice. Some raw zucchini or tomatoes always welcome. Toss with steaming pasta, olive oil, and grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper. It tastes a good as it looks! Make it even easier and dress your favorite noodle with our Spinach and Artichoke Bruschetta. I know, it sounds odd, bruschetta is not for pasta...but this version is! Try it here: https://shopgiftandgather.com/products/spinach-artichoke-bruschetta

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