Take this pantry-friendly pasta made with jarred pesto, ground lamb and frozen peas, for example. It looks and tastes like spring, but can be pulled off with aplomb even in the doldrums of February.
There are no real tricks here, save for cooking the lamb while the pasta boils and adding the peas directly to the pasta pot right before draining. Employing the lemon twice, one for its zest and once for its zippy juice, is also an easy way to build flavor without any effort or additional ingredients.
Do take the time, however, to look for a jarred pesto with a minimal ingredient list. Some brands include quite a few filler ingredients, and some even add water. Stick to the brands, such as Classico, that use only basil, olive oil, cheese, pine nuts and salt, or if you’re shopping in a grocery store with an expanded deli section, look for pesto that comes refrigerated. It won’t last as long in your pantry, but it’ll give your dish a big, fresh boost. And if you can manage a second perishable ingredient, a showering of freshly chopped mint or basil is a fine finishing touch.
Pasta Shells with Lamb and Peas
MORE 5:30 CHALLENGE:
Udon miso soup
Harissa chicken thighs
Warm chickpea salad
Scallops with Fennel and Grapefruit
Spaghetti and Meatballs
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