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Jun 11, 2013

one pot pasta

I definitely slack off in the kitchen this time of year. I am always looking for recipes that are super quick and easy. In the winter time, I don't mind experimenting with fancy cuisine with fresh ingredients but when it's nice out, the less time I can spend on dinner the better. This past winter, I would put a good meal together and it would take about an hour and a half to two hours from start to clean up.

One of my most favorite go-to meals that I usually keep all the ingredients for (thanks to the Schwan's man) is what I call 'One Pot Pasta'. You can call it whatever you'd like, but basically it's dumping a bunch of ingredients into a pot of boiling H20. That is what we decided to make tonight.

Martha Stewert came up with the original idea. I just simplified it. I'm not all for a fresh head of broccoli and zest/juice of a lemon when I'm in a hurry! 

I have been experimenting with 'One Pot Pasta' for quite some time and my ingredients of choice are :

  • Frozen Broccoli (My favorite is the broccoli florets from Schwan's)
  • Penne Pasta (I use gluten free because I have to eat that way but you can use regular too)
  • Frozen tail-off cooked shrimp
  • Fresh (Or kind of fresh) Parmesan Cheese
  • Minced garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasoned salt (A major staple in my house is Tastefully Simple's Season Salt)
  • Italian Seasonings
  • Pepper

I don't have measurements for you because well, I don't measure a darned thing in this recipe because really, you can't screw it up. If you're looking for a quick and easy meal, measuring is not quick and easy.

Oh, and you need a pot. Fill it with water. You know your boundaries. Fill it too full and you just may boil over and be sure to leave room for the shrimpies, pasta and broccoli. But don't dump them in yet!

Before we get knee deep into this recipe and while we are waiting for the water to boil, I will disclaim that I am not a photographer and I am not a chef. So if you're looking for a fancy food blog, I'd probably turn around and run. Quickly.
 I think it's really annoying when people talk between recipe instructions and try to be all cute and funny. Now I know why they do it. It's hard not to!

Anyways, you want to bring your pot of water to a boil and insert your pasta following the instructions on the package. It's really hard to screw up pasta. It has been done, though. We had one pot mush last week because I left the little penne dudes in way too long.

In the meantime, while said pasta is boiling, I like to dump my shrimpies in the strainer and run cold water on them so when I go to dump them in my pot of water, they aren't all the way frozen and I believe it keeps them from getting chewy. If you think this step is a waste of time, skip it. I won't be offended. But your shrimp might.

After the pasta has boiled about 2-3 minutes, I dump in about half a bag of broccoli and the shrimp so it can finish boiling with the pasta. I don't like to put these in too early because the broccoli turns mushy and the shrimp will get kind of rubbery.

When the broccoli and shrimp are combined with the pasta, the party begins!

Sometimes you need to crank up the heat because the frozen ingredients can cool the water off quickly. Try to keep a rapid boil!

Okay, now we're partying!

When there's on only a few minutes left, this is when I like to add the garlic, season salt and the Italian seasonings.

Now, is when you're going to need some muscles. Okay, maybe only if you have a camera in one hand.

When the timer for the pasta goes off, dump everything from the pot into your strainer.

After the water drains, dump everything back into the pot and carry pot back over to the stove burner. Turn burner off.

Dump a healthy amount of olive oil into the pot. If you are unsure how much, just make sure it's enough to coat everything evenly but not too much. I'd give you a rough estimate but we are going for "quick and easy" here....

Next, dump on a healthy pile of parmesan cheese or a pinch if you're on a diet.... and some pepper (not pictured)

And stir it all together in the pot until the cheese is sort of melted.

Garnish each individual portion with parmesan cheese! Ew, I am definitely not a food photographer.

And eat!

My husband loves this dish and yours will too! I don't have kids so I can't tell you if they would like it. I bet if you took out the shrimp and broccoli they would?

She's not allowed to have any.

If I offer her some, the husband gets pretty upset with me!

Since I am pretty unprofessional with my recipe presentation, I forgot to tell you how much this yields. Really, this is enough for my husband and I to get a full plate for dinner and fill three Tupperware dishes up for lunches this week which is a bonus. This actually heats up very well. Even the shrimp. The shrimp can be a tad rubbery, and your coworkers will ask you what the heck that smell is when it's brewing in the microwave, but it's still worth your while.

That folks, is a face thrilled to be helping in the kitchen! I am suck a lucky gal.

And there you have it! A quick and easy go to meal that just about anyone can make.

And p.s. Tupperware, Schwan's and Tastefully Simple did not pay me to do this post. But if they would like to, I would not be opposed! ;)

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