Kate’s Kitchen: Unbelievably simple and delicious pasta guidelines


When I was young and looking forward to college, I thought being able to go grocery shopping by myself would be the coolest thing. I’ve found a few cooler activities since then, but I still enjoy cooking for myself and others. Kate’s Kitchen will bring you sometimes healthy, usually easy and always delicious recipes that easily can be made by any cook, regardless of skill level.

This week isn’t about a specific recipe, it’s about my favorite quick and infinitely changeable main dish — pasta with stuff in it. There are four main parts to a good pasta dish — the pasta, the sauce, the extra stuff and the seasonings.

Pasta — I prefer short and chunky types that better mix with other chunky add-ins.

Sauces — Tomato, pesto and just plain old olive oil are my favorites.

The Extra Stuff — This is where you can get creative. Cheeses, vegetables and meats are all game. If you want a healthier meal, throw all sautéed spinach and zucchini with fresh tomatoes. If you’re a meat lover, ground meat or sliced sausage both work, as does nearly any cheese.

Seasonings — Salt and pepper, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, fresh herbs and a sprinkle of love finish off the dish.

Directions — Cook pasta according to the directions it comes with. Combine the sauce with the extra stuff and seasonings, then add to the pasta. Enjoy — and brag about how you didn’t even have to use a recipe.

My Favorite Combinations —

  • Pasta, olive oil, tomatoes, Parmesan, mozzarella, olives, basil
  • Pasta, olive oil, sautéed zucchini and spinach, mozzarella
  • Pasta, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, red pepper flakes