Pantry Pasta

This week’s recipe comes from the deep corners of my pantry and fridge. Let’s be honest, we all experience those moments when you feel like there is absolutely “nothing” to eat in the house. I came up with this recipe one evening when I had nothing to make for dinner and was too lazy to go grocery shopping or order takeout. My kitchen happened to be stocked with a box of pasta, lemons, garlic, and parmesan cheese. Put these all together and voila, you have a quick and yummy dish. To make things even better I added cherry tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and fresh herbs. Now I always have these ingredients in my kitchen for those desperate nights when your pantry seems “empty”. Keep in mind, this recipe can always be modified to accommodate whatever is stocked in your kitchen. No tomatoes? No problem. Olives and artichoke hearts are a great additions or substitutes. Want some protein, add some grilled chicken or sautéed shrimp. Only have pasta and cheese? Just add butter or olive oil, salt and pepper and I promise you will not be dissatisfied.

  • Pantry Pasta

  • 1 pound thin spaghetti

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 2 teaspoons pepper flakes (optional)

  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice

  • ¾ cup fresh parmesan, grated

  • Zest of one lemon

  • 1/3 cup basil or parsley, chopped

  • 2-3 teaspoons salt



  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente (or follow the instructions on the box). Drain pasta reserving one cup of pasta water.

  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil and garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat. Without browning the garlic, cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes and pepper flakes to skillet and sauté until tomatoes are warmed through (increase the heat if necessary). Add pasta, lemon juice, parmesan, lemon zest, basil, and salt. Toss to combine adding a little pasta water to break up the sauce for desired consistency. Grate fresh parmesan on top and serve.