Sunday, April 5, 2020

Food I'm Eating: Fast, Easy, Adaptable Six-ingredient Pasta

If you're tired of your own cooking and looking for something super easy to make for lunch or dinner, here's a recipe I like because it's tasty, easy, and fast--you can prepare it in the time it takes the pasta to boil. Only six ingredients are required, but you can make additions and substitutions.


1. Black olives (fresh, pitted--not those horrid little black tires they put on pizza at the big pizza chains)
2. Capers 
3. Anchovies (the kind in the jar, not a can (although those work in a pinch): I like the Agostina Recca brand)
4. Fresh garlic 
5. Chili flakes (I like chipotle flakes) 
6. Fresh parmesan cheese (shaved, not the powdered Kraft stuff) 
7. (Optional): Baby spinach, snow peas, other greens


Boil water for pasta. While waiting for the water, chop the olives, capers, anchovies, and garlic finely but not too finely. Set aside.

When water is boiling, add the pasta. If you normally salt your pasta water, in this case don't: the olives, capers, cheese, and anchovies provide plenty of saltiness.

In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil and butter. When the butter is melted, add the olives, anchovies, capers, and chili flakes. Stir. Reserve the garlic and parmesan cheese. Turn down the heat.

About four minutes before the pasta will be ready, make a space in the skillet for the garlic, turn up the heat again (medium-high) and add the garlic and more butter so that the garlic sautés in the butter. Make sure the garlic doesn't burn. Turn down heat if necessary after the garlic takes a little color, which should be just before the pasta is ready. If you add greens, put these in along with the garlic so that they're just cooked as the pasta finishes.

When pasta is ready, drain and add to the pan with the other ingredients. Turn off the heat and mix well. Last, add the Parmesan cheese. The residual heat will melt it. Serve immediately!

I like to make this with baby spinach, which adds some nice color. If you're a vegetarian, you can omit the anchovies. If you don't like spicy foods, omit the chili flakes. If you like things spicier, this works well with fresh minced jalapeño or Fresno peppers (or hotter varieties, if you like). The photo here shows it with snow pea pods instead of spinach. Dinner last night. :)

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