This post is about super-fast dinners that I like to eat, and as a bonus, that are so easy to make that I don’t even measure each ingredient! So I could also have called this post the “no-measure meals” post. Sometimes, you don’t want to bother with a recipe in the evenings. You need something fast to get on the table so that you can get out the door to evening activities. So, here are two gluten-free, super fast pasta meals that you can make with very few ingredients.
First, butternut squash with pasta, which serves four. Boil 12 ounces of gluten-free rotini until the pasta is cooked, but not too soft. If you over-cook gluten-free pasta, it tends to become too soft when you are trying to mix anything into it, causing it to fall apart. So I always follow the package directions and do not cook pasta any longer than required.
While the rotini boils on the stove, microwave a frozen steamer pack of riced butternut squash (Green Giant makes a good one). With the pasta cooking and butternut squash steaming in the microwave, add to a small pot on the stove, a cup of low-fat buttermilk. You are just trying to warm up the buttermilk, so the heat can be on low as it doesn’t need to boil. However, if you wanted to make the sauce a little thicker, you could add a little cornstarch dissolved into water, and let it boil for a minute or two to thicken, as well. Also, instead of buttermilk, a good substitute for this would be half and half. Next, chop up a few sage leaves. When the pasta and squash are both ready, combine the drained pasta, the butternut squash, the chopped sage, the warmed buttermilk, and add some salt and pepper. I sprinkled parmesan cheese onto my meal, but you could just add it straight to the mixture to make things even faster. That’s it. Quick and delicious and a pretty dish, too (see the photo for proof!)
A second fast pasta meal I make frequently is pasta puttenesca. This serves 2, but you can easily double it. The first step is to cook 6 oz. of gluten-free spaghetti. While the spaghetti boils, work on the super easy, but very flavorful, sauce. Sauté 2 cloves of minced garlic in a drizzle of olive oil for about a minute. Once it turns golden brown, add a few spoonfuls of tomato paste to the garlic and stir it around. Next, add two diced Roma tomatoes (the smaller tomatoes) to the pan, a few spoonfuls of jarred, halved Kalamata Greek olives (I bought a bottle of already-halved olives, making this even faster since I didn’t have to remove pits or chop anything), and a spoonful of rinsed capers. Like I said, no need to measure any of this, just use a spoon from your silverware drawer. I let everything cook together and soften in the pan while the pasta boiled, then turned the heat down to low.
Once the pasta was almost finished, I added a few spoonfuls of pasta water to the sauce, to make it loosen up as it was getting dry. I also added a little bit of cracked black pepper. When the pasta is finished and drained, combine the pasta and sauce. This dish is really flavorful and everything is completed at the same time without any rushing. Another thing I like about this meal is that you can keep the Greek olives and capers in your fridge and make this dinner again the next week without having to buy new ingredients!