Living in a city where most kitchens are equipped with gas stoves and ovens, my penchant for cooking has taken a serious hit. I have a strange fear of the gas, getting killed by a leak, etc. It took me two years to work up the nerve to actually start cooking on the gas range. It helps that I moved: My first apartment had an utterly repulsive and dirty kitchenette. I lived by microwave and takeout. So, anyway, I’m cooking again sometimes (though not baking…I still fear the oven!), and I have a standard pasta dish I try to make every few weeks. It has variations, but it’s become my trademark dinner (only to me, since I’ve never served it to anyone else). Let’s face it, it’s a “wander the aisles, pick simple stuff, and make it look pretty” meal. It’s not haute cuisine.
Much like my mom making Indian dishes, this is not an exact science. I don’t really measure. This serves one (for one or two meals depending on how hungry you are).
Around 2 cups of rotini (Ronzoni works, but I prefer Barilla)
A handful of dried cranberries (I use Trader Joe’s orange-flavored)
Optional Starkist Albacore tuna, 3 oz packet, or optional Johnsonville Stadium Style brats (2 brats was enough for me)
Pasta sauce of your choice OR balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing of your choice (I’ve had good results with Prego and Paul Newman)
It’s pretty simple. You boil the pasta according to the directions on the box and drain. Add as much sauce or dressing as you like. Then, mix in the tuna or the chopped up brats (which you’ve hopefully cooked. I George Formaned mine.) and add the cranberries. Plate up and garnish with parmesan. Voila!
Yes, I’m not exactly the next Food Network star, but it works for me.