The mail carrier brought me a bountiful gift today: the latest copies of Southern Living and Bon Appetit. Couple those with the Food & Wine already on my desk, and it’s a recipe-reading day for me. Once upon a time, I had a large collection of cookbooks, but many drowned when a deluge broke through the flat roof over one part of the house, and most of the rest were surrendered to the great downsizing. So now I don’t cook so much by the book, but by pages I’ve torn out of various magazines. Problem: my collection of recipes is once again headed toward appalling.
But here are two quick and good pasta ideas that you can make at the last minute. We all have those days—it’s five o’clock, the kids are hungry, and you haven’t started dinner yet. Or you don’t get home from work until 5:30 and you didn’t defrost anything before you went to work. These come right out of your pantry.
Bonus: you shouldn’t end up with a kitchen full of dirty dishes with these dinners.
This always makes me think it’s an easier version of cacio e pepe, which is typically hard to master—you have to get the spin of the wrist just right. I find this easier.
1 lb. linguine – (reserve the pasta water)
½ cup good butter, divided use (I use Kerry Gold for everything these days)
2 oz. good, fresh grated parmesan or pecorino (I like the slightly sharper flavor of pecorino)
1 oz. truffle oil—(Oh, go ahead, splurge a little and keep it on hand)
Melt butter in skillet and set aside, dividing into two portions.
Cook linguine; use tongs to transfer it from saucepan to skillet with half the butter in it. Stir to coat. Add 1 cup pasta water, a bit at a time, and stir until water reduces a bit and forms a creamy sauce (you may not want all the water). Add the rest of the butter and stir.
If you want to approximate cacio e pepe, sprinkle generously with fresh ground black pepper.
Remove from heat and divide into four bowls. Sprinkle generously with cheese and drizzle with truffle oil.
Fast tomato sauce with anchovies
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
4-6 anchovy filets with a bit of their oil
1 28 oz. can tomatoes, drained of juice and crushed (I prefer San Marzano)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked long pasta
Grated pecorino or Romano cheese
Heat oil to medium in saucepan and add garlic and anchovies, stirring until anchovies break up. Add tomatoes.
Bring to a boil and cook about 15 minutes. Sauce should thicken as it cooks—serve with linguine and top with pecorino or Romano cheese.