Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spontaneous Lenten Pasta

Yesterday I was running around, getting ready for a house guest coming from the old country and preparing for Boy's preschool birthday celebration today. It wasn't pretty. Priest-husband gave me the ultimate gift; he took the two littles with him to the airport so the two bigs and I could clean without the littles undoing everything.  But by the time 7 PM rolled around and priest-husband called with a half-hour warning, I still hadn't gotten to the grocery store.

Uh-oh. I like to live on the edge. As a kitchen adrenaline-junkie, it is not uncommon for me to go to the store with no idea what I am going to make for guests. I'll chose whatever meat and produce is on sale and looks the best and go from there with no official recipe. But I've never worked just from the pantry and freezer when preparing food for guests. Here's what I made, meatless-but-not-vegan for a Tuesday in Lent, in a half hour:

Yummy Green Pasta-in-a-Hurry

In a frying pan, drain and saute one large bag of frozen chopped spinach and one bag of frozen artichoke hearts with some olive oil. Add half a head of freshly crushed garlic. 

Boil pasta in a large pot. I used Trader Joe's Fiber-rich Penne. Drain when pasta is al dente, and then add the spinach mixture to the drained pasta. Add two big spoonfuls of basil pesto (use just basil or another favorite herb to stay vegan). Mix and then taste. Add salt and pepper if needed. 

Serve with bread (your guest is from the old country where they eat bread with bread!) after the shrimp cocktail and fruit salad appetizers. Promise yourself never to put yourself in this crazy position store before store before cleaning.....

The pasta was yummy. I don't have a photo because I can't find the charger to the battery cartridge of the camera. I guess I have more cleaning to do. But in any case, the pasta was yummy. The color contrast between the khaki green of the artichokes and the dark green of the spinach was nice. And anything is delicious with garlic and basil pesto. I didn't have tomatoes to add to the plate (didn't get to the grocery store, natch), so I served very, very addictive Lebanese purple pickled turnips. Run, don't walk to your nearest ethnic-type store and buy some. Just don't blame me when a jar lasts only a day. My two-year old just finished one. 

image from


  1. You do incredible meals on the fly. Just got back from a priest's funeral and was still hungry after a while. DSH got out crusty olive bread with a little pesto and cheese on top and into the microwave.

    Very impressed with his creativity. Love your story wish we could join you for pasta.

  2. Sounds wonderful and I will definitely make this soon! I love artichokes, spinach, and pesto. Awesome!

  3. I am not surprised-- you are a very gifted cook. (deny away, but all of your sisters think so!!) Also, I ditto the Lebanese turnips which I discovered at your house- thanks for being so understanding when I polished them off! -Faith

  4. Pickled turnips. Now, that's a food that one doesn't just discover. I've been planning a trip to a middle Eastern grocery for a while now. One more thing to add to the list.


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