Okay, so this is shaping up to be another "cooking by the seat of my pants" kind of week. But this time I don't even have a gorgeous panoply of produce to work with. So, no meal plan for the week again, and I am cooking from the pantry yet again. Thank goodness I have a well-stocked pantry!
So, Monday night I pulled together the pantry cook's greatest tools: dry pasta and canned beans. If you have those two items in the larder, you have nothing to worry about. Then I rooted around in the fridge and freezer and to see what else I could find. I am also fortunate that the chives in my herb garden are taking off.
I ended up with a box of orzo, a can of chickpeas, a half jar of tuna packed in oil, a bag of frozen artichoke hearts (great product to have on hand), a lemon, parsley (keeps a long time in the fridge) and thyme from the vegetable drawer and chives from the garden.
Making dinner was pretty simple. Cook the pasta (orzo doesn't take long to cook). When you drain it, save about 1 cup of the cooking water.
While it's cooking, make the sauce: Cut the artichokes in half (the long way). Saute them with a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the artichokes are browned and warmed through (I threw them in straight from the freezer), add in one can of drained chickpeas. When they are warm, add in the tuna (with its oil). Break up any large pieces, but leave the tuna chunky. Toss in the zest from one lemon, the juice of one lemon, some thyme, and finely chopped parsley and chives. Stir and season with salt and lots of black pepper.
Add your cooked pasta to the pan - you may not want to add all of it. The amount of sauce I made was enough for about 1/2 pound of pasta (before cooking). If the pasta and sauce seem too dry, add 1/4-1/2 cup pasta cooking water and stir. Add more water and a little olive oil if it's still too dry. Done.
Note: This is a very adaptable dish: I could have gone a different way and made it with dried mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, black olives and anchovies (keeping the chickpeas, chives and parsley in the dish). I prefer little shell pasta when I'm cooking with chickpeas (the beans nestle into the shells), but I didn't have any.
Now what am I making for dinner tonight?