Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Frugal, Fun Wednesday: Giada's 15 minute pasta

Things I'm thankful for today:

1.  My dog's soft, velvety ears.

2.  The smell of coffee in the morning.

3.  E! News weeknights at 7pm.

4.  Diet Coke from the fountain.

5.  Giada de Laurentiis and her fabulous pasta (don't worry...I have a tribute post in the works to Giada--she taught me how to cook)

This has all I look for in a meal:  simple, flavorful, satisfying, comforting, reliable, and fun!

It could also be what I look for in a guy.....SO glad my 1-2 fits that bill perfectly!  <3

Okay, so to make this simple pasta, here is all you need (yes, its really all you need):

1 pound of your fave shape pasta (she uses rigatoni, I've used that or penne or today's selection, radiatore), roasted red peppers, slivered almonds, extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned croutons...

Yes, just 5 ingredients.....all wonderful and full of flavor.....

Here is the easy steps (which takes all of 15 minutes to put together).

Boil water for pasta and cook according to directions on box (I also used a dash of salt in that water to flavor the pasta).  Mine cooked in 9 minutes.  Drain and set aside in a BIG bowl (you will thank me later).

While the pasta is cooking, add the package of croutons and 1/4 cup slivered almonds into a blender or food processor.  Pulse until you get to breadcrumb consistency, taking this:

to this:

Its okay if it has bigger pieces in there...I think it makes the dish look rustic and gives you an extra flavor surprise when you bite into the dish. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Next, you will chop the red peppers.  I used about 1/2 of that 12 oz. jar, making about 1 cup or 1 1/4 cup of chopped roasted red pepper. 

 I chopped into bite sized pieces and scraped them into the big bowl with the pasta. 

I love the color and flavor roasted red peppers give to a dish.  I've been known to add it into pizza sauce, pasta sauce, and even in tuna salad for a pop of color and smoky flavor.  Don't knock it til you try it.

Now, comes the fun part...mixing it all together!

The big bowl prevents mega spills....which I did the first time I made this dish, and my dog got to eat up what got spilled on the floor...she's a great vacuum cleaner like that...........

In that big bowl, pour breadcrumbs over the peppers and pasta.  Using 2 big spoons or salad tongs, mix well to get the crumbs and peppers incorporated into the pasta (those little lines in the rigatoni or penne or the little crevices of the radiatore "catch" the breadcrumbs and peppers very nicely).

Once that is somewhat mixed, begin the pouring of your olive oil.  EVOO is necessary here because you want the most flavor for the least amount of ingredients.....when that olive oil hits the hot pasta and breadcrumb mixture...the smell is pure joy in a bowl...........

Is that even possible?  Well, it is here on WTR, so go with me.... =)

I would mix about 1/4 cup first and stir up well, adding the other 1/4 cup in 2 batches until you get it to the consistency you want (so you aren't just eating breadcrumbs and pasta...that might be too dry for your liking).  I like having a light coating of oil on all of the pasta which gives me the flavor I want without making it so oily.

To serve, spoon into a big pasta bowl (I use my cereal bowls I got from World Market--love that place for great bowls for cheap!), drizzle with a bit more olive oil and tap with italian seasoning......



See ya'll soon~

15 Minute Pasta

Print this recipe!
adapted from Giada's Everyday Italian


1 16 oz box pasta (either penne rigate, rigatoni, or radiatore)
1 12 oz jar roasted red peppers (you will be using half the jar)
1 5 oz bag seasoned croutons (I used Texas Toast brand)
1 12 oz slivered almonds (you will use 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus a bit more for serving)
salt (I used it to salt the water for the pasta...a dash only..precise I know)
italian seasoning (optional, for serving)


1.  Boil water and cook pasta as directed, using a bit of salt to flavor the water.  Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
2.  Meanwhile, add croutons and slivered almonds in a blender or food processor and pulse until you make breadcrumbs.  Set aside.
3.  Chop about 1/2 of the jar of red peppers into bite sized pieces (that makes about 1 to 1 and 1/4 cup chopped peppers).  Place in big bowl with pasta.
4.  Pour breadcrumbs over pasta and peppers and mix well. 
5.  Begin with EVOO, pouring 1/4 cup in at first and mix.  Add in the other 1/4 cup until pasta is coated, breadcrumb/pepper mix is thinned, and you've reached your desired consistency.

To serve, spoon into big bowl, drizzle with 1 tsp more oil for the top and tap italian seasoning on top for a pop of color and flavor.

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