Cooking for One : Leftover Pasta Edition

Tonight I was determined to cook for myself while Boyfriend was meeting a friend for drinks, especially in light of the fact that I spent an exorbitant amount on Pad Thai and apple-lemon-ginger juice at lunch today. I also wanted to start using the pre-made pesto I bought at the Fancy Market around the corner from Boyfriend’s apartment. Making some pasta and slapping a tablespoon of pesto on it is one of the few dishes within my culinary reach.

When I took the box of whole wheat rotini down from the cabinet and shook it, it sounded suspiciously rattly. A peek inside confirmed that barely a single portion remained. I opened the fridge to see if there was anything else that would go marginally well with the pasta and found lunchmeat, some Swiss cheese, and–voila– a whole box of mixed baby lettuces. Boyfriend and I are terrible at finishing any green produce we buy; we’ve wasted an embarrassing amount of perfectly good fresh veggies. However, we are extremely skilled at eating carbs. Hence the imbalance in our stock of pasta vs. greens.

I’ve also been trying to eat fewer raw vegetables lately, per the orders of every acupuncturist I’ve seen in the past couple of years, outside of the green juice with ginger I’ve been drinking a few times a week. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, raw veggies and certain other foods are considered “cold,” and if your digestion is weak, they mess with you, and…some other stuff I can’t remember right now. Anyway, because of that, and also because I’m terrible at eating my vegetables, I was pretty sure that a big ol’ salad was not my first choice to supplement my meager ration of pasta. Then I wondered if I wouldn’t be able to cook the greens in the pot after I drained the pasta, like I do with an egg for carbonara.

First I Googled “pasta wilted salad greens” to make sure I wasn’t just making up this idea. I do that a lot when I’m not using a recipe. It’s comforting to know that other people have done similar stuff before me. It also reassures me that whatever dish I’m making probably won’t kill me. I’m trying to build more self-confidence about my cooking, but it’s a process. For now, I have Google.

Having just finished eating, I would call this experiment a success. The slightly cooked greens give a nice freshness and some texture to the pasta. Read on to learn how to make it.

Rotini with Wilted Greens and Pesto

WHOLE WHEAT PASTA WITH WILTED GREENS AND PESTO

Ingredients

  • The dregs of a box of whole-wheat rotini…or fusili, penne, what have you. (Probably about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup, for one person.)
  • A few handfuls (1 c.) of mixed baby lettuce leaves
  • A hasty spoonful (1 tbsp.) of store-bought pesto, or for those of you with more motivation and time than me, homemade pesto.
  • Pinch of black pepper

Process

  1. Bring water to boil in saucepan/small pot; salt if you remember to.
  2. Add pasta, cook until al dente.
  3. Remove pasta from heat and drain in colander.
  4. Return pasta to pot and add greens, toss over low heat and add pesto and black pepper.
  5. Enjoy all by your lonesome, and be proud that you’ve cooked another meal without setting the kitchen on fire.
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