I've been experimenting with pasta toppings and sauces simply because I am tired of tomato or clam, the two I use most. Though pasta hasn't been a frequent meal in my house up to now,
because it is economical and food prices keep advancing, it is fast becoming a quick repast.
Many of you probably grew up eating spaghetti. Though it wasn't something my maternal grandmother ever made, my mother learned to make both meat sauce and a red sauce with minced clams. Civic groups often held spaghetti dinners and I do recall going to the Officers' Club for Spaghetti Night with my mother and her date as a kid and later with my stepfather. There was a blind pianist who provided music during dinner and even the nuns from our convent and Catholic school ventured out for that.
Another favorite of the civic set was a dish called Johnny Marzetti, a Midwest casserole featuring in our part of the world Arturo sauce, tomatoes, onion, garlic, celery, olives, cheese and ground beef. It was cheap, easy to make and could be frozen. These days, Arturo sauce can only be found on Amazon and I've not eaten any version of this dish since leaving Panama.
It was not until my university days that I discovered pesto, chili mac or varieties of mac and cheese. To her credit, my mother, who loved convenience foods, never served mac and cheese from a box or later in any microwave presentation. She made her own and it was a treat because she never made it often enough for me. Though I can make it, I don't generally make large pans of anything as cooking for one with a small freezer means whatever I do produce gets eaten rather than stored.
Lately I have been buying frozen veg in various combinations one of which contains eggplant, peppers, onions, tomatoes and olive oil with basil. To this I add garlic, oregano, greens, more tomatoes and a topping of parmesan. It makes a hearty, chunky, veg laden sauce and is a great way to use up any bits of veg.