Monday, December 21, 2009

Shallota Pasta

I used to menu plan every Sunday for the upcoming week. I liked having all our dinners planned out in advance, as it saved me from unnecessary grocery store trips mid-week, as well as standing in front of the refrigerator for half an hour after I got home from work, wondering what the heck to make for dinner. Sometime over the summer I stopped menu planning, figuring I was home all day anyway, I could just plan on a daily basis.
Of course, that didn't work well, and I soon found myself repeating the old habit of wondering what to make for dinner 20 minutes before my husband would be walking in the door. I'm the kind of wife that likes to set dinner down on the table as the husband is walking in the door, after a long day at work. This doesn't happen all the time, but planning out our dinners in advance sure goes a long way in helping get dinner on the table right as I here the garage door open and the car door slam shut.
Yesterday, as I was getting ready to go grocery shopping, I decided it was time to go back to meal planning. I had somewhat of a grocery list written out, but wasn't really sure what else I needed to buy. Now that we are making an effort to eat more organic foods, I have to be careful not to over spend at the grocery store. Not having a set list would definitely equal spending too much money. So I sat down with my laptop, two favorite cookbooks, and a piece of paper and began planning out our meals for the week.
The result? Efficient, money-wise grocery shopping and some new meals added to this week's menu. The husband blessed this meal by requesting that it be added to "the rotation", though he did ask that I add some grilled chicken or shrimp next time.

Shallota Pasta

Source: Adapted from Rachel Ray's Big Orange Cookbook
Printable Recipe

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 large shallots
1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
dash chili pepper flakes (optional)

Peel the shallots and then cut them in half. Thinly slice each half and set aside.

Heat the olive oil with the butter over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic ans shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook until gently caramelized (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of eater to boil for the pasta. Salt the water liberally, then add the spaghetti and cook to al dente. When the pasta is almost done, add about 1 cup of the cooking water to the shallots and stir. Drain the pasta and add to the shallots and garlic. Ass the parsley, cheese, and more pepper to taste. Toss for a minute or two to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce. Sprinkle a dash of chili pepper flakes on top and serve.

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