One of the most popular searches leading people to my home blog is, no-quotes, 'what to put on pasta.' Every time I see this, I think, how boring are people? Unlike those searching for 'hipster porn', 'sheygetz jewish woman', and 'is watermelon fattening', the pasta folks have perhaps not the most fertile imaginations.
Or so I thought, until I found myself with what looked like as many bags of pasta as days left in my apartment. This was months ago - once discovering the 99-cent bags at Whole Foods, and weaning myself off the marginally superior but once-$2-then-suddenly-much-more DeCecco boxes, I started hording the bags. And kept doing so. (My boyfriend warned me I might be going overboard, but did I listen?) And now, I have officially run out of things to put on pasta. I have tried everything. Every pasta dish I've ever seen on a menu and thought, 'that looks interesting,' I've made. (Turns out broccoli rabe, at least as I made it, is of no use.) Every interesting-looking Greenmarket vegetable has found itself on a bowl of pasta, as have non-vegetarian toppings of all kinds. Every possible variant of tomato sauce has made its way from cans of tomatoes to the pan. Every food I eat otherwise, with the notable exceptions of oatmeal, pizza, and Twix, has made its way onto a mound of pasta, such that there are no longer dishes that don't 'take' pasta, cheeses that don't 'go' with pasta, pasta, pasta, pasta....
So, I'm stuck. To preempt a reasonable suggestion - giving the remaining bags to charity upon moving out, as we'll probably have to do with some other stuff in the cabinets - I should note that the way our kitchen's laid out, with no ventilation (no window or vent), and with storage above the cabinets, all the bags are covered in a thick layer of kitchen grease. The contents of the bags are, I think but don't know, still viable, and I've been treating them as such, but to someone who didn't know the back story, the bags to not look or feel as though they contain edible food. The pasta is ours or it's garbage.
This is where I ask, after all, for suggestions for what to put on pasta. Linguine, to be precise. An Alice Waters pasta cookbook I consulted was of little use - some suggestions were excellent but obvious in their minimalism (although the fact that putting a few basic, fresh ingredients on pasta seems obvious owes a lot to Waters's influence); others were tailored to a climate with a bit more produce variety; and still more violated the Cheapness Studies credo - I'm all for what goes on the pasta being a higher price-per-pound than the heap of starch below, but a pasta recipe that begins with shucking oysters or requires the addition of caviar or truffles, however delicious the results, misses the point.