Whether it's for financial purposes, lack of UberEats availability, or just to ameliorate your cooking skills, there are some nights where you just don't want to order takeout. If you're anything like me when I moved into my first apartment, when it comes to cooking at home, you're a bit of a nuisance in the kitchen. I used to be so bad at cooking, I could ruin cereal! Now, with all of this extra time on our hands and the world being indoors, there is no better time to upgrade your cooking game in your USF apartment.
Cooking in Your USF Apartment - Pasta Night!
Make The List
Let's start with a relatively simple dish: pasta. Everybody loves pasta in some form or another. Before you take a trip to the grocery store, ask your roommates about their pasta preferences. If you live with three or more roommates, you might get suggestions for pasta ingredients you've never heard of before! When my roommates and I make a big bowl of pasta, we usually include the pasta itself, some form of meat, and a nice sauce blend that fits the dish. Whatever your roommates' preferences, write down a grocery list and head on over to the market!
Stir The Pot
Once you're home with your ingredients, fill a large metal pot with water, place it on the stovetop, and set the stove to high. Once the water boils, throw in your pasta! If your roommates want to have meatballs, you're better off throwing spaghetti or linguine in the pot rather than bowties or elbows. If your roommates prefer ground meat that mixes well in your sauce, you will want smaller pasta pieces like rigatoni or tortellini instead of string pasta. Once your pasta is in the pot, pour a dash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt inside; this helps your pasta retain its flavor and get puffier instead of being bland or saggy. Stir your pasta occasionally to avoid any sticking to the sides and keep an eye on its consistency. It is always better to have undercooked than overcooked pasta!
Next, put a pan on another burner, spread a little olive oil inside, and set that stove to medium. You will want to season your meat with some Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. It might be best to do a quick Google search on your apartment's wifi for how you should cook your meat depending on your apartment's preferences. When the meat is done or nearly done, dump your sauce on the pan and set the heat to low; this allows your sauce and meat to blend well and stay hot until pasta time.
The Grand Finale
Your pasta is ready. Your meat and sauce look perfect in the pan. Now, it's time for the main event! Pour your pasta into a strainer and shake it for about twenty seconds to drain all the water out. When finished, throw your pasta back into the pot, dump your meat and sauce inside, and stir it up! For a creamier dish, consider adding some mozzarella or soft, white cheese to blend well with the sauce. Stir it up, round up your roommates, and enjoy your creation! If your apartment came furnished with a dishwasher, I would highly recommend rinsing your pot and pan ASAP and placing them inside; dried pasta sauce, especially with cheese, is notoriously tough to remove once it's dry.
This is just a rough draft of what I suggest you should do for a pasta night in your USF apartment. Please feel free to put your own spin on things. Pair your dish with a lovely wine, add garlic toast on the side, and make it your own any way you'd like!