Make Ahead

Weeknight Pasta from the Pantry

January 29, 2016
Photo by
Author Notes

This dish works year round as a quick weeknight dinner. Ingredients can be pulled last-minute from pantry, fridge and/or freezer. Or use fresh produce in season Last, keep the corn & vary the root vegetable. Back story: I had spiked my tomato sauce with some horseradish, and built on that. The horseradish adds a warm note running all through the dish. —Nancy

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4-6 as main, more as a side
  • 4 cups dried short pasta (12 oz, odds & ends or all one kind)
  • 3 cups simple tomato sauce (home made or store bought)
  • 6 ounces tuna, preferably canned in oil
  • 1 cup beets or other root veg (fresh, pickled or canned)
  • 2 cups corn (fresh, frozen, pickled or canned)
  • 1-2 tablespoons horseradish (sauce or freshly grated)
  • to taste lemon juice or wine vinegar
  • to taste Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (if tuna was canned in water)
In This Recipe
  1. Start about 5-6 quarts water to boil. Add salt. When boiling, add the dry pasta and start to cook it.
  2. Meanwhile, in an oven-proof casserole (about 4 qt size), mix horseradish, tomato sauce, corn, beets and tuna. Include the beet liquid & tuna oil - they carry good flavors. Or add 1-2 tbsp olive oil if tuna was canned in water.
  3. When the pasta is nearly al dente (1-2 minutes less than package instructions), remove the pot from the heat. Do not rinse - you'll lose the good starch in the water. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, remove the nearly-cooked pasta to the casserole dish with tomato-fish-vegetables and toss together. Taste & adjust seasoning if needed with salt and pepper, lemon juice or more horseradish. Also add half to one cup pasta cooking water to sauce.
  4. You can interrupt your prep here and store the mixed but only partially cooked dish in the refrigerator, covered, up to 3 days.
  5. Warm briefly in a medium hot oven (350-400F) about 15 minutes if making the recipe straight through, or 20-30 minutes if taking it directly from the fridge.
  6. Wine options. A light Zinfandel or Primitivo, to pick up on the tomato. Or maybe a dry Riesling to pick up on the tuna.
  7. Extras freeze well. Thaw in fridge, or take directly from freezer to oven or microwave.

See Reviews

See what other Food52ers are saying.