Some weeks, I try to skip a big shopping trip to the grocery store and eat from the cupboards, freezer and refrigerator.
I'll get milk and fresh produce, but it's pretty amazing to me how much I have in the cupboards that will make meals that are filling and easy.
I end up searching online for recipes to use pantry staples - the evaporated milk that's been hanging around, the multiple cans of tomato paste (why do I have so many!) and the opened boxes of odd-shaped pasta. That last one comes from me attempting various soup recipes, which require me to buy a whole box, but use only a half cup of the actual pasta.
That brings me to the box of stelline pasta, which has been hanging out in my cabinets for too long. This box of little tiny star pasta was perfect for a soup. Could I use it to make anything else?
Yes ... in fact, I might just be buying another box of stelline pasta so I can make this simple side dish again and again and again.
This recipe is attributed to the Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis from her "Everyday Pasta" cookbook. I've made my usual adaptations and additions to it.
Little Stars with Butter and Parmesan
1 cup of stelline or other small pasta such as orzo
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter (The original recipe calls for unsalted, but I don't think it's essential that it's unsalted.)
Cook the pasta according to the package's directions in salted water. Once it's done and drained, add half of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Then add in the rest of the cheese and butter.
That's where the recipe ends, but there are so many additions that you can make to this. Chop up some fresh herbs such as parsley or basil and mix it in after you've added all of the butter and cheese. Saute vegetables such as mushrooms, tomatoes, summer squash or zucchini and stir into the pasta. Add any leftover veggies from dinner the night before into the dish. Even some cooked, chopped chicken or drained cannellini beans would make a yummy addition.
This recipe has definitely become a side dish staple for me.
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