So many wasted years!
Although I still don't order pasta at restaurants (because I prefer to order complicated dishes that I don't usually eat), I have it often at home. This week, my daughter gave me some penne, chicken, and broccoli she had made. A few days later, I made myself some chicken florentine ravioli with roasted tomato sauce. And last week I had fettuccine with shrimp, artichoke hearts, and peas.
These dishes have several features in common: they are relatively quick to make; they are inexpensive; they are very tasty and satisfying; they don't require a trip to the store for special ingredients. I always have something in my freezer or cupboard that I can pair with pasta. Also, pasta—like pizza—is a good way to use up odds and ends. Two mushrooms alone aren't good for much, but they make a great addition to most pasta sauces. So does a teaspoon of capers, or a few stalks of asparagus.
About once a month, I try some new pasta. Last month, it was Buitoni's Wild Mushroom Agnolotti. How bad could it be, I thought. Well, it was so good that I wrote them an unsolicited letter, extolling the virtues of this previously-unknown food. I had served it with a very simple tomato sauce plus some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It tasted as if I had slaved over the stove for hours. I wished I had bought more than one package.
No one knows for sure how many different types of pasta exist. Some sources say 10; some say 150; one said 600. If the last number is true, I'm going to have years of experimenting. I can hardly wait.