[Collegiate Meals] Basil Parmesan Spaghetti

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About: Engineer making renewable energy products for African entrepreneurs.

Pasta is a staple food surrounding collegiate life. Boil some water -- throw in some pasta -- plaster on tomato sauce. Here's a simple way to break away from simple tomato sauces.

Step 1: Ingredients and Cost

A medium thickness spaghetti
Butter (to lightly coat)
Parmesan Cheese (to lightly coat)
Basil (fresh and minced or dried)

Calculating cost doesn't work very well as ratios depend on the amount being served. I think we can agree the cost is VERY low ;)

Step 2: Cook and Serve

Start off by boiling a pot of water in a suitable sized pot (nothing less than a medium sized pot).

Boiling water for pastas actually has more steps than just placing a pot of water over heat ;)

1. Place a covered pot over heat
2. When bubbles start rising (creating a convection current) salt the water. You know you added it at the right time because the water will turn cloudy for a few seconds - recover
3. Once the water is boiling, add 1-2 tablespoons of good olive oil - do not recover

Cook your pasta for the desired amount of time. I cooked this pasta (spaghetti Rigati) about 6 minutes. The recommendation is 7-9 minutes. I find that too long and my pasta comes out too mushy. I was raised on extra al dente. Al dente means to the bite (or teeth) in Italian. One method of testing doneness is to sample your pot and make sure the pasta retains a little bite.

Pasta type is also important. Rigati has a mostly square cross section which brings in some texture and allows things to stick to it easily. If you were serving a sauce with small chunks of something, you'd want something bigger like Rotini or gemelli. This also goes for thick cream sauces (which is why you may have had mac and cheese using wagon wheels). Tubular pastas are great for heavy sauces - they are sturdy enough and have a nice cavity to hold the goods. I can explain more about pasta selection later.


Strain your pasta - do not rinse

Place the pot back on the burner (now turned off) and throw in a few pats of butter. Use your best judgment - we want to lightly coat everything. Melt butter.

Put the pasta back in the pot and mix well -- now sprinkle in some Parmesan cheese and basil to, again, lightly coat. Roasted garlic and/or roasted peppers (rough chop) also adds great flavor (and color).

Step 3: Serving Suggestions

This can be a standalone meal. Or, as pictured, a side dish with Chicken Parmesan. You can service with red meat too - such as Sausage :)

For starch overload -- try some garlic bread or my favorite, a lightly toasted piece of whole grain bread.

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    20 Discussions

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    CrayfishYAY

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I'm enjoying my meal right now! I put Asiago cheese, basil, garlic olive oil, & ranch on my spaghetti. I put marinara sause on my Boca chicken parmesan. YUM!!! :D

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    wellsjc

    9 years ago on Step 3

    I have a very similar recipe that I used all through college. I used elbow macaroni noodles and Italian Seasoning instead of spaghetti noodles & basil. Also, using garlic butter works well with it.

    Don't forget the pesto! This is a fantastic idea. I eat pasta like this constantly (for extra fun, toss a tiny bit of chicken or beef broth with the pasta as well). Don't forget about pesto though. Takes like 2 minutes to make, lasts FOREVER, and is another great thing to toss on pasta when you don't feel like using sauce.

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    H4T

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for posting this! Pasta is very filling, but I got really tired of tomato sauce really fast. Problem solved!

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    Very Keri

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Oh! Quick dinner for hubby and me! I absolutely will be using fresh basil and parmesan and I'm totally topping this with some marinated, grilled chicken.

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    clydicus

    11 years ago on Introduction

    > try some garlic bread or my favorite, a > lightly toasted piece of whole grain bread. Yes, but you haven't told us how to make toast. Now that we know how to boil pasta and melt butter, perhaps a detailed instructable on the fine points of toast preparation...?

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    trebuchet03westfw

    Reply 12 years ago

    But not part of the spaghetti :P And not nearly enough to be considered a serving :P

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    westfwtrebuchet03

    Reply 12 years ago

    I meant: the traditional tomato sauce on the spaghetti is a vegitable. Cheese, herbs, and butter isn't... Since tomato suace is usually pretty reducted tomatos, I bet it doesn't take very much tomato sauce to equal a serving of tomato. (whether a serving of tomato is particularly nutritious is another question...) Spaghetti with a meat-containing tomato sauce and cheese is like four food groups in one.

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    westfwzachninme

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    All fruits are vegetables, but not all vegetables are fruits.
    That's my story, and I'm sticking with it. (Actually, Wikipedia has a nice discussion of this...)

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    crestind

    12 years ago

    These [Collegiate Meals] all look delicious.

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    canida

    12 years ago

    This is also good with a bit of fresh lemon juice and zest.

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    trebuchet03

    12 years ago

    Ha! This one posted out -- but my pseudo chicken Parmesan hasn't. Can anyone see it from the link in step 3?

    2 replies
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    trebuchet03Nesagwa

    Reply 12 years ago

    ok thanks -- from the bug posts, looks like it's not just me :)