For pasta lovers like me, Sundays are for long-simmered ragus and, when I’m feeling really ambitious, homemade noodles. For the rest of the week, thankfully, there are boxed pastas and pantry sauces I can pull together in about the time it takes to boil a pot of water.

Pasta is a great vehicle for seasonal vegetables: peas and asparagus now, eggplant and peppers in summer, hearty greens in fall.

But it also lets you get creative with everyday supermarket staples such as lemons and cherry tomatoes from the produce aisle, salmon from the fish counter and bacon from the deli. Plus cheese — don’t forget cheese. Pasta and cheese love each other. In fact, if all you have on hand is a box of pasta and a wedge of cheese, you can still make a nice dish of pasta.

The array of pasta shapes available, including fat, rustic bucatini and elegant farfalle (bow-tie pasta), to name a couple of my favorites, gives you even more to play around with.