What are the items you always have in your pantry?
I recently asked friends of the A Fresh Legacy Facebook page which two items they always keep in their pantry.
The consensus was pasta and tomatoes/passata, followed by rice.
I have well stocked pantry. It is not large but it is FULL. I keep key items in stock at all times that are repeated in our menu plan. A well stocked pantry:
- Can serve as an effective cost saving measure. By maintaining a basic set of regularly used ingredients you are able to reduce shopping/supermarket trips and buy your pantry staples in bulk or on sale.
- Aids creativity – as you use an ingredient on hand rather than heading to the shops.
- Ensures that you can always put a meal on the table. Include ingredients high in flavour such as anchovies, sun dried tomatoes, olives, capers, and a wide variety of herbs and spices in your pantry to pair with staples such as grains, pasta and flours. This will allow for flexible meal planning when you are unprepared or when an event changes your plans.
The primary way that I ensure the required items are always in my pantry is via my pantry shopping list. My mum has always had very well stock pantry, her approach to keeping it stocked at all times with key ingredients is a simple rule – if you use something you have to write it on her shopping list to be re-stocked.
Pantry Pasta Recipe
This Pantry Pasta recipe provides a perfect example of cooking from the pantry. It is one that I have used many times at the end of a busy week or when things have just not gone to plan. The recipe allows for the simple addition or deletion of ingredients that you have available in your pantry or garden and it is easy to adjust to suit your family’s taste.
The key is the inclusion of one ingredient with a strong flavour – in the recipe below it is the anchovy or the chilli (or both if you are adventurous!) You may leave both of these out if they are not flavors enjoyed by your family and instead select to add one of the ingredients from the Additional Ingredients list included below.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- ¼ cup quinoa – cooked and drained
- 1 tablespoon oil of choice
- 3 cloves fresh garlic – chopped
- 1-2 anchovy fillet/s chopped finely (optional)
- ½-1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
- 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes – chopped
- Generous handful of fresh parsley leaves (substitute with 1 and ½ teaspoon dried oregano)
- Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese to serve
- 3-4 grinds of black pepper per serving
- Dry spaghetti to serve 4
- Set two saucepans of water to boil – one for the quinoa and one for the spaghetti.
- Once the water is boiling add the quinoa and cook for 10 minutes – it is ready when the little tails appear. Drain and set aside.
- Add the spaghetti and cook until just al dente.
- When the pasta is almost cooked, heat a pan to medium heat and add the oil, garlic, anchovy and chilli flakes (if using). After a few minutes add the sun dried tomatoes.
- Drain the spaghetti and add it to the pan. Add quinoa also. Stir to coat and combine.
- Dress with the fresh parsley and Parmesan.
Additional Ingredients (select one):
- Tinned tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes
- Fresh spinach leaves
- Roasted capsicum
- Chicken or prawns
- Pine nuts or almonds
*One of the most valuable cooking lessons I learnt this year on a trip to Italy was that the best meals are simple ones. Keep the number of ingredients low and you will have a perfectly tasty meal on hand.
What two items are always in your pantry?