The name of this recipe may ring true in respect to the ingredients needed to prepare it, however, the same statement cannot be applied to the taste of this pasta dish. Poor Man’s Pasta is what I’ve heard it referred to in the past, but recently, one of my friends called it Coin Pasta. (A play on the cheap ingredients.)
This dinner is filling and satisfying, and truth be told, any additional food items, such as bread or a salad, is not needed at all! It is worth noting that this pasta appeals to the most ravenous meat-eater as well as the most delicate palette. The leftovers from this pasta night were thoroughly enjoyed by my mother, who think vegetarians are weird, and by my daughter, who has very picky taste buds.
I imagine that Poor Man’s Pasta might have been quite a familiar and welcoming dish in poor economic times. Pasta has always been an ingredient that most people could afford, and being able to cook it using only water and salt, must have been a huge blessing for some families. When I think of dishes like this, I think of simpler times – when money was scarce, but the family dinner table was important. Everyone worked and pulled their weight, and dinners needed to be filling, satisfying, and carb heavy. I picture moms toiling all day at home and pulling together a tasty dinner with the bare essentials.
So, you see, Poor Mans’ Pasta is a dish that is made with whatever you have on hand. Pasta, milk or cream, salt, pepper, and butter or oil, are pretty much a staple in any home. Adding in the cheese and whatever veggies you have on hand makes a wonderful, simple, rustic dinner.
Try it with broccoli, red peppers, lima beans, or even leave out the veggies completely if you have none available. The onions and garlic alone make this a very flavourful pasta.
- 1 500 gram package pasta (any pasta shape will do)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1½ cups frozen green peas
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup chives, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Cook your pasta according to the cooking instructions on the package. Do not overcook the pasta, because you will need to add the pasta to the other ingredients later and the pasta will cook some more with the residual heat. Once the pasta is cooked, drain well and set aside. (A good tip to not overcooking pasta, is to follow the cooking instructions precisely, but reduce to cooking time by exactly 2 minutes. This allows for additional cooking later when you add your pasta to the sauce mixture.)
- Next, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large sauté pan. Sauté the onions until translucent.
- Add the garlic and sauté until the onions begin to turn a slight brown colour.
- Add the pepper and the salt. Stir.
- Lower heat to simmer and allow onions and garlic to "rest" for 2-3 minutes.
- Once your sauté pan has cooled down a little, add the heavy cream and the parmesan cheese.
- Stir gently until the parmesan cheese has melted into the heavy cream and onion mixture.
- Once the sauce begins to thicken, add the frozen peas. Stir the peas through the mixture and allow 3-4 minutes of cooking time for the peas to warm through.
- Add the previously cooked pasta and the chives into the pea and sauce mixture. Stir gently as to not break the pasta until all of the pasta is coated with the sauce.
- Continue to simmer for another 3-4 minutes or until your pasta has reach the desired texture or until the sauce has thickened to your liking. (If the sauce becomes too thick, simply add a few additional splashes of the heavy cream.
- Garnish with fresh chives and parmesan. Enjoy!