There is fancy pasta and there is basic pasta. I have cooked a lot of basic pasta. I practically survived off it for a whole summer. It took Bani and I four countries and four weeks to try something else for dinner. We ate a lot of pasta.
There was pasta in tomato sauce. Pasta in Pesto. Pasta in carbonara, once. All the sauces were poured from a jar. We never added more herbs and thought seasoning happened four times a year and that salt only goes in the sea. A few times we added a sausage or some chicken, and once we even added some tuna and sweetcorn into mayonnaise to really push the boat out. That made Bani feel like Gordon Ramsey. We ate a lot of pasta.
We didn’t have a colander and had to drain the pasta with the saucepan lid. We lost a lot pasta down the sink or onto the tarmac of a layby. We never heated up the sauce, we just stirred it straight in with the soggy lengths of penne and thought that would do. Which it did. It never tasted bad and we were always less hungry after eating it, so it ticked all the boxes really.
We never got carried away adding veg and rarely even had cheese. I have never seen a clove of garlic or leaf of basil on the kitchen counter/ wardrobe. I tried to cook macaroni once but those little shells expand a mind boggling amount and almost flooded the van. I haven’t tried it since.
My cooking has improved since then. Thank the Lord. I have built upon the simple sauce and pasta combination and have added veg, ‘vegetarian meat’ and even some garlic. It is truly ground breaking stuff.
Pasta is still regularly cooked, but now the sauce his heated up amongst frying onions and Quorn’s finest chicken pieces. Mushrooms are thrown in and sometimes a pepper. I even invested in a colander which was game changing but we couldn’t figure out how to wash it, what with all the holes, so we abandoned that luxury after a month and a build up of unwanted pasta.
I have stepped up from that very first level of basic pasta and elevated my dinners to a tastier point of the continuum, but fancy pasta is still a very long way away.
Do not follow this as you may end up with a meal as bland as this blog post.
- Pasta (I like the little tube ones but it’s up to you, the twizzly ones are cool too)
- Sauce (ready made tomato is a personal fave but explore the shelves, go on an adventure)
- Vegetables (onion and shrooms are gooduns but they might arrive in the sauce)
- Meat (Quorn chicken pieces are cracking and some sausages go in well too)
- Cheese (if it hasn’t melted in the van fridge which seems to be the hottest storage space)
- Seasoning things (whatever they are)
- Put the pasta in boiling water and pray that it is somewhere near a reasonable amount
- Try a bit every so often until it is not hard
- Drain it somehow. If you’ve thrown out your slimey colander, grab the saucepan lid and try and let the water escape whilst holding the pasta hostage.
- Repeatedly curse whoever designed a saucepan without handles as your saucepan holding hand rapidly gains warmth
- Wave a lot to cool that hand down
- Stir in some sauce
- Grab a fork and get stuck in.
- Find a genuine recipe
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