I love trying new recipes, and I'm usually game to try something a little more complicated or out of the ordinary for dinner, even on a weeknight. But sometimes you do just need a dish that you can get on the table quickly (or in our case the couch...our apartment is tiny and we have no room for a table!). This pasta dish is fantastic because it's fast and it uses ingredients I tend to have around the house so it doesn't require a trip to the grocery - at worst, maybe I'd have to run to the corner store to pick up artichokes or an onion, but mostly I tend to have these things around. I really like how the flavors of a few simple ingredients combine here - briny artichokes, sweet peas, salty cheese - yes, please! What really makes this dish shine, though, is the toasted panko breadcrumbs. They're totally worth the extra step, and the sauce/topping will still be done by the time you boil water and cook pasta.
Pantry Pasta (adapted from Chocolate Shavings, original recipe here)
1 pound dried pasta (I used rigatoni)
1/2 cup panko
1 T minced fresh oregano (or sub dry - we have some growing on our porch)
Salt and pepper
1 medium red onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
7.5 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. When the pasta is al dente, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta.
2. While the pasta is cooking, drizzle some olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add the panko and oregano, and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook until the breadcrumbs are golden and crispy, 7-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
3. Wipe out the skillet and return to medium heat. Add a bit more oil, and then add the onions and garlic. Cook until softened and browned, lowering the heat and/or adding more oil as needed to prevent burning. Stir in the artichokes and peas, and cook until warmed through.
4. Add the cooked pasta along with about half the pasta water to the skillet with the vegetables. Stir until combined, adding the remaining pasta water if needed to form a loose sauce. Stir in the lemon juice.
5. Ladle the pasta into bowls, and top with the Parmesan and the breadcrumbs.