Last night I had dinner with friends (and strangers!) so I didn’t have to cook dinner. I did however have to make lunch, and I decided to make something that could work for either dinner or lunch. It was good, so good in fact, I was sorry I didn’t make it for dinner when people were coming over! Isn’t that always the way? One can go to tons of trouble to prepare dinner when company is coming, and, on days when there is no pressure whatsoever, you invariably come up with a winning dish!
Such was the case yesterday afternoon. All of a sudden the kids were clammering for food, and I lied as I usually do, and said they would be eating in “12 minutes or less!” I put a pot of water on for pasta and told myself that by the time it was ready, there would be something in a pan to receive it.
I raced down the back steps to my little plot of dirt, and decided on a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, and sweet basil leaves. All I envisioned was chopping them so finely they would turn everything a brilliant green. I was so excited about the resulting bowl of food that I stood by my kids and wanted to know immediately what they thought. They barely got a mouthful down before I attacked them for a critique. My daughter declared it was the best pasta dish I had ever made, and my son nodding in agreement, too busy eating to speak.
Of course hunger can do terrible things to one’s judgment, but I have to say, if you can get your hands on some fresh herbs, and you want something ultra-fast, this is the thing to make. It would also be great if a hoard of people descended upon you, and they are in need of feeding!
You will Need: 1/4 cup plus 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 bunch of Basil and 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped ultra-fine (chopped, should measure a 1/2 cup in total), 1 big garlic clove, thickly sliced, 3 plum tomatoes, skinned, pulp removed and diced (I used 3 plum tomatoes from a can, so the prep was quick and easy), 3/4 lb spaghetti pasta (I use Barilla brand), coarse sea-salt (I use Maldon slat flakes) and freshly ground black pepper, Parmigiano Reggiano for sprinkling over finished dish.
1 – Put pot of water on to boil for spaghetti. When it boils add a tsp of salt and cook spaghetti according to instructions (generally 8-9 minutes).
Prep vegetables, but, do not start step 2 until the pasta has 6 minutes left to cook.
2 – Put big saute pan on medium heat and add oil. When it warms up, add the sliced garlic. Cook on both sides until beginning to turn brown. Remove garlic and discard.
3 – Add tomatoes and cook for about 1 minute before adding the fresh herbs. Cook for further 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little coarse salt (1/4 tsp) and several grinds of pepper.
4 – Turn off heat and toss drained pasta into pan and incorporate.
Serve in warm bowls with a little cheese if you like. I also cooked a few seasoned sausages on the side, for the meat lovers.