A quick dinner was in order last night. I was still recovering from my trip to NYC (type New You City in search box to the right to see my post) and was not over-enthused about spending tons of time in the kitchen. Actually that is not entirely accurate. When I am tired, the thought of having lots of laborious tasks to do in order to get dinner on the table makes me feel even more exhausted and this can lead to crankiness. What I try to do is come up with something that I can make with my eyes closed, involving no more than 3 steps, and, enjoy my “hang-out” time in the kitchen. I still want to be standing there beside the stove or on a stool, chatting to my man Dave or watching a movie with everyone piled together, but I want to do more of nothing, than be burdened with task after task.
Last night’s Do-Nothing dinner was possible because I had some fabulous squid in my fridge. There is nothing like squid cooked in a simple rich red sauce, so, that is what we had. The basil from my garden and some chili flakes gave me the freshness I was looking for, and my evening in the kitchen was stress-free and happy. Cook this if you want to spend more time lounging than laboring!
You will need: 1 1/4 lbs squid (tentacles and bodies), 1 sweet onion, 1 28oz can plum tomatoes including juices, chopped, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, 1/4 tsp chili flakes, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp coarse sea salt, several grinds black pepper.
1 – Put big saute pan on low/medium heat and add the oil. When it is warm, add the onions and saute for about 8 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and cook for another minute.
2 – Add the tomatoes, juices, water, salt, pepper and fresh basil and bring everything to a simmer. Cover and cook at a gentle simmer for 30 minutes. Take lid off and taste to see if it needs more salt or pepper (or pepper flakes).
When sauce has 15 minutes left to cook put water on for spaghetti and when it boils, cook pasta according to instructions. Before draining, scoop out a cup of pasta water and set aside.
3 – Add squid to sauce and bring everything back to a gentle simmer. cover and cook for 3 minutes. Remove lid and add a 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and stir. Immediately add the spaghetti and toss gently with 2 wooden spoons. Add the rest of the pasta water if you like a looser sauce.
Serve in shallow bowls with some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and any greens you like. (See suggestions under pictures)