I tend not to cook anything unless I have a recipe, but there are exceptions, such as my mom's pasta e fagioli and linguine with clam sauce. These I can make from memory, drawn from 30 years of experience wielding a paring knife and mincing cloves of garlic into microscopic cubes. The fragrance of garlic gently simmering in a pan coated with olive oil ... that's home.
The family recipe for pasta e fagioli is blatantly simple. It's great comfort food and quick to put together. And it's a warm, friendly foil for a big salad and some hot garlic bread. Only thing is, I can't give you exact amounts because everything is relative: how many are you feeding? How much garlic do you have on hand? Etc.
But here goes:
Mom's Pasta e Fagioli (serves 1 or 2)
Half a box of small shell pasta
2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 or 3 big cloves garlic, minced
1 can cannellini beans, undrained (I tried using dried, but the results were less than stellar)
1/4 cup (est'd) fresh parsley, chopped
Dash of ground cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper (optional)
Cover pasta with water in large sauce pot; bring to a boil and cook according to the directions on the box, or to your preference.
Meanwhile, Heat just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large pan gently on medium-low. Add garlic and stir frequently until garlic softens and turns a light gold color - don't let it brown. Your kitchen should smell heavenly.
Add the beans and the liquid from the can. Stir and heat through. Sprinkle on the parsley and cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper if using.
Drain the cooked pasta and return to the pot. Add bean mixture to the pasta and combine. Enjoy!