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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cooking as a College Student: Skillet Pasta

 I have been pretty much only cooking and eating my own food. As a college student without a job and very little funds I have learned to be fairly creative in what I eat. Or, how I cook what I eat, I suppose. I mostly only eat pasta. I need pasta. When I don't have enough pasta I get super cranky.

Because I'm in a dorm I cook in a shared kitchen. This can be fun, because I get to meet and talk to a lot of people I wouldn't otherwise. This can be not so much fun because the kitchen is super tiny. No. Really. I'll get a picture later and show you. It's ridiculous.

And people have commented on how my food looks/smells delicious so I decided it might be fun to share some of the things I cook with y'all. First up is Skillet Pasta!

What you'll need:

Utensil Type Things:

  • Skillet (or some kind of frying pan)
  • A lid for the skillet (it doesn't have to fit perfectly - mine doesn't - it just has to cover a decent portion of the skillet)
  • A wooden spoon (or a metal one, I suppose - I just prefer wooden spoons)
  • A cutting board and knife
  • A bowl/plate of some sort
  • An oven - and a working burner
  • Spatula (optional)
Food Stuffs:

  • Oil
  • Spices (I use: rosemary, oregano, garlic salt, and sometimes basil)
  • an onion (if you absolutely hate onions you don't have to use onions)
  • pasta (I use angel hair or fettuccine, but any kind should work)
  • pasta sauce (any kind, really - I'm using red sauce here, but you could also use vodka sauce or other things probably)
  • cheese (I uses goat cheese and a bag of mixed cheese)
Be warned: I don't use exact measurements.

First: put your skillet/frying pan onto a burner and put some oil and spices inside. Turn the burner on low. This, I find, helps your skillet/frying pan to have a more consistent heat once you start throwing stuff into it.

Second: cut up some onion (however much depends on how much onion you want - usually I use two slices) and throw onions into skillet/frying pan. Only. Not literally. Throwing food around can get messy. If you have really good aim, hey, go for it. If not: just slide the onions in gently.

Let the onions cook for a little bit. It depends on how not-crunchy you want them to be. The longer you let them cook, the less crunchy they will be.

Third:  pour some sauce into the skillet/frying pan. If you aren't good at eyeballing pour in a half a cup or a cup of sauce, depending on your portion size, and see how that looks.

Fourth: time for the pasta! If using angel hair/fettuccine I find it easier to break it up. Break it in half, and then break each half into half. This makes it easier to cook. 

Fifth: add in enough water so that the pasta is fully covered. Then cover with the lid and set the timer for about ten minutes.


 Sixth: when the pasta has cooked for about five minutes it's time to add the cheese! The image on the right will show you about how much goat cheese I use. For the mixed cheese I put in one or two handfuls (about half a cup?).


 Stir until the cheese is fully melted. Put the lid back on an wait another five minutes. Make sure you uncover and stir every minute or so to make sure nothing is burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. If the pasta is still uncooked after five minutes keep uncovered and stir sporadically until it's ready. When is ready? It honestly depends on how you like your pasta. Just keep testing the pasta until it tastes good to you. How high/low your heat is will affect how fast/slow the pasta cooks. Also, the angel hair will cook much faster than the fettuccine. 

 This is about how it will look when it's done cooking.

Seventh: when the pasta is done pour into some sort of eating container. I use a spatula to make sure I get everything out of the pan. This also makes it easier to wash the skillet/frying pan

Eighth: wash your skillet/frying pan and wooden spoon and spatula (if you used one) and lid. Now, if you're in your own house/apartment, this is none of my business and whatever. Wash your dishes when you want to. This step is for college students. If you are sharing a kitchen with anyone, if the kitchen is not your private space, then wash your dishes. This is respectful to people (*cough* like me *cough cough*) who need to use the kitchen space and don't want to have to clean up your mess. Be an adult. Be a respectful person.


Ninth: Eat your food! I won't go into details, because I'm pretty sure all of you (or at least most) know how to feed yourselves. If not, ask someone else for help. I can't help you with that.
I add fresh basil to most of my dishes because
I have an awesome basil plant that hasn't died yet.

What's nice about this kind of pasta is you can make all different kinds of skillet pasta. Just change up the cheese or vegetable or sauce. I will probably be sharing variances in the future.

Do you have any simple college-easy food recipes? Please share!