I'm all about making weeknight dinners easier on myself but not at the expense of a quality meal. Microwave dinners are a thing of the past -- truthfully I can't believe I ever ate that crap, but in college you do what you gotta do. However, there are some decent cheats to be found at your local grocery store, if you don't mind taking the time to finish the recipe off with quality ingredients.
Take, for example, the refrigerated fresh President's Choice pasta: recently I bought a package of PC Porcini Mushroom Tortelloni. Because it's fresh it only takes a couple of minutes to cook in boiling water, which means you can spend a bit of extra time dressing the dish up (and I'm talking 15, 20 minutes max).
I sauteed two cloves of garlic in butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then added about 1.5 cups of chopped cremini mushrooms, along with some salt and pepper. I sauteed those down, deglazing with a bit of white wine, and then put them off to the side. Once the pasta was cooked, I added a bit more butter to my skillet, browned it, then added some fresh sage leaves. Once the sage leaves had become fragrant I added the cooked and drained pasta in to the skillet along with the cooked mushroom mixture and mixed everything together, with a bit more salt and pepper. For an added health kick I tossed in about 1.5 cups of baby spinach leaves and let them wilt down. Spoon the mixture onto a plate or bowl (I prefer a bowl for pasta), grate some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top, and you're done.
No pasta machine required!
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