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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Pantry pasta a yummy standby

Thursday, April 08, 1999


When Abi Gallagher of Ross sent us this recipe, she described it as "a staple at my house because it is cheap, quick and elegant. Served with a salad, Italian bread and white wine, it can be an emergency company dinner. I usually have all these items in my pantry, hence the name. I often put add-ins to lend variety: a can of artichoke hearts, quartered, a sauteed onion, a jar of pimento or a handful of cooked shrimp."

We're delighted to report that this dish lives up to its billing and more. It's simply scrumptious, and we haven't tossed on any of her suggested add-ons yet - it's so good as is. Twenty minutes from pantry to table is hard to beat.

According to Gallagher, Pantry Pasta started out as another recipe and evolved, embracing just about anything on hand in the kitchen: ground walnuts, dried parsley when fresh wasn't available, a variety of olives, cooked shrimp, a can of artichokes.

It's a favorite with Abi and her husband Blair, empty-nesters since their son moved away.

Gallagher teaches computer courses part-time at CCAC, primarily at the Airport West location in Robinson. She enjoys cooking, and her schedule allows her the flexibility to experiment in the kitchen when the urge strikes.

In addition to clipping recipes from newspapers and magazines like Southern Living, Gallagher uses her computer skills and subscriptions to several news groups on the Web to search for recipes and exchange them with others. That way she knows they've been tested.

For her efforts in sending in this delightful pasta recipe, she now gets to add a cookbook from the PG to her collection. (And so can you. Read the rules below.) - Tested by Betsy Kline

Pantry Pasta

1/2 pound spaghetti
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or whole pig- nola nuts (we toasted the pignoli nuts to bring out their sweetness)
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped (1 cup will suffice)
1/2 cup sliced black olives
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the spaghetti in boiling water, as per package directions. While spaghetti is cooking, chop nuts, parsley and olives. When spaghetti is done, drain and put in a big bowl. Toss with oil, chopped ingredients and salt and pepper. Serve topped with Parmesan. Makes 2 to 3 generous servings.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer(not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@Post-Gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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