While cleaning out the freezer in The Perfect Pantry recently, I discovered some cooked pasta, half a bag of frozen peas, and a long-forgotten container of pesto made from the last of last summer's parsley (gosh, that's a lot of P in one sentence, isn't it?). In fact, my pantry offered up every ingredient for this dish of pasta with peas and parsley-walnut pesto. If you don't have homemade pesto tucked away in your freezer, use store-bought basil pesto, and you will be very happy. And if you prefer whole wheat or gluten-free pasta, use what you love. Be sure to use good white wine and real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; when a recipe has just a few ingredients, your happiness depends on using the very best you can afford.
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When I was a little girl, I'd smother in ketchup anything I had to eat but didn't naturally love. As an adult, I prefer to do my smothering with good Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I wish I could say that I naturally love broccoli, but I don't, though over the years I've discovered ways I can get more broccoli into my diet; Chinese stir-fries and pasta recipes with lots of cheese top the list. This dish of pasta bow ties with broccoli, white beans, pine nuts and feta incorporates two cheeses along with a healthy portion of broccoli and white beans. The tang of lemon and a good pinch of fresh black pepper brighten the flavor. I could eat broccoli this way every day!
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In a typical winter, we'd be tromping through snow banks, shoveling our paths, digging out our cars, waiting for the plow guy to come and extricate our driveway. This year (and I don't mean to jinx us by saying this), we've had February days warm enough for T-shirts and sidewalk café dining. Everything here in southern New England seems out of season; if you don't believe me, wander in my garden, where rosemary, thyme, oregano and even parsley still show some green. It's not quite as warm here as the Greek Isles, but the sight of fresh herbs in my mid-winter garden makes me crave Mediterranean flavors. For this Greek pasta salad, I reached into the pantry for the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette ingredients. You might want to make extra dressing, to keep in the refrigerator for a quick sauce for warm pasta, a dip for crudites, or a sandwich slather.
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We're all on diets in my house (yours, too?), yet here I am, sharing a recipe chock full of creamy, gooey, cheesy goodness. Forgive me, but this mac-and-cheese is too good to keep under wraps. A stovetop riff on the most popular recipe ever featured on The Perfect Pantry, this pasta with shrimp, lemon, herbs and feta comes together in less time than it takes to boil a pot of water. You already have almost everything in your pantry, freezer and fridge. Substitute garden-fresh dill for the parsley, if you wish, and use any type of twisty pasta you have on hand. If you don't have Greek seasoning, combine dried oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and lemon peel, to your own taste. Everyday or dinner party, this pasta dish more than satisfies, with just a green salad on the side.
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