Out of the Pantry: Cooking Class for Teens

We made a simple vegetarian pasta using pantry ingredients.

Watch the video for step-by-step instructions.

Intro script from video:

My name is Jane Gov, and I am the teen librarian at Pasadena Public Library. The following video was edited from a live virtual cooking class I conducted for teens. It is for beginners. We distributed ingredient kits to participants prior to the workshop—so most participants were working with the same items. This video is meant to be used to follow along in real time, but feel free to pause, rewind, or forward if needed. There are times when the video has been cut — that is to edit out any of the participants’ voices or faces. So if you see any abrupt cuts, it’s because a clip was removed. I recommend reading the entire recipe on our blog before starting.

Quick disclaimer:  I am not a professional cook or chef. While I have graduated from culinary school (I attended the Le Cordon Bleu, California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena and have worked in the industry for a short time) — it was a long, long, long time ago, years before I went to library school. So I may not know the best tips or the best method of cooking these particular items, but I assure you, it will taste fine in the end. This lesson is more of a “cook-with-me” or a cook together program. This is also the first time I’ve done a live cooking lesson, so we’re all learning as we go.

So I hope you enjoy this lesson and even if I’m not there with you, I have enjoyed cooking with all of you.


Pantry Pesto Pasta with Potatoes, Artichoke, and Tomatoes

Serving size = 2


  • half a box of pasta (6 oz)
  • half a bag of yellow potatoes (6 oz)
  • 1/2 of small yellow onion (5-6 oz)
  • half a jar of artichoke hearts (3-4 oz)
  • half a can of diced tomatoes (7-8 oz)
  • half a jar of pesto sauce (2-3 oz)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2-3 TBSP oil (any cooking oil is fine such as olive, canola, vegetable, or avocado)


  • stove
  • pot with water for cooking pasta
  • Large strainer
  • wide pan
  • spatula or cooking spoon
  • 2-3 small bowls or a tray to hold chopped ingredients
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • Timer
  • Fork
  • Spoon
  • Pot holder and/or towels
  • (optional) cup with water
  • (Optional) small strainer


Before you begin:

  • Wash and dry potatoes
  • Open all jars and cans
  • Place your strainer where you will be straining pasta

Cook pasta

  1. Fill half a large pot with water and boil.
  2. Once boiling, add salt, and cook pasta according to instructions on package.
  3. Drain pasta.

Prep ingredients

  1. Dice potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes
  2. Slice onion
  3. Drain juice from artichokes and tomatoes

Make toppings and sauce

  1. Place pan on medium heat and add about 2-3 tablespoons of oil.
  2. Once the pan is hot (about a minute), add the potatoes in an even layer, add salt and pepper, and cook without stirring for about 4-5 minutes. The potatoes will be golden brown on one side.
  3. Then continue cooking, occasionally turning the potatoes for another 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add onions and continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add a little more salt and pepper.
  5. Turn heat to low-medium and stir in artichoke and tomatoes for about 2 minutes until all ingredients are warm.
  6. Add cooked pasta and stir to combine.
  7. Turn off heat and add pesto sauce. Stir to combine.


Please recycle!

  • Compost produce scraps. If you don’t use compost, throw in trash.
  • Wash out the cans and recycle.
  • Wash out glass jars and lids and recycle.
  • Recycle cardboard boxes.



Photos from some of our participants:

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This recipe was created for Pasadena Public Library by Jane Gov, Youth Services Librarian. Any reference or adaptations to this recipe can be credited to Pasadena Public Library.