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Monday, December 15, 2008

complete satiety using only the basics

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I almost hesitate to post this as a recipe. It's so ridiculously simple - I certainly can't lay claim to any sort of originality or great wave of creative genius here.

In a nutshell, I was hungry, low on fresh ingredients and so I just put a few very simple things together and WOAH. It's really freaking good.

The best parts of this are that it's ready in mere minutes (faster than KD and with less stirring) and if you have a well-stocked pantry, you can probably make it right this second.

So go make it already.

Salt and Pepper Pasta
1 pound good quality pasta (I like barilla or de cecco)
extra-virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup - it's worth using your best stuff for this)
sea salt (ideally fleur de sel)
fresh black pepper
cheese for grating (real parmigiano or grana padano or pecorino romano are best)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. Cook pasta to your preferred doneness (al dente!!! please!!!!). Start tasting it a minute or two before the package says it will be really don't want to overcook the pasta if you can avoid it. I had this really funky pasta in my cupboard and this was a great recipe to use it in because there was no heavy sauce masking the fun colours of the pasta.
funky coloured pasta

This recipe is a good way to use any funky shaped or coloured pastas you might have hanging around. I was a little sad that some of the bright colour came off in the pasta water though:
pasta changed the colour of the water

3. When the pasta is cooked, drain, but don't rinse. Put it back in the pot and toss with olive oil, a good solid pinch of sea salt (again, I highly recommend coarse fleur de sel - because salt doesn't dissolve in oil, you get nice little tangs of salt throughout, rather than a solidly salty dish). Table salt wouldn't be as good because it's really intensely super duper salty. I know it sounds silly to say salt is salty (duh), but sea salt has a number of other minerals in it that tend to broaden the flavour of it and make it less sharply salty. Grind a LOT of pepper over top. Salt and pepper are your flavours here, so use a good amount.

salt and pepper pasta

4. Use a microplane to grate some cheese over the pasta in the pot, and toss to coat everything.

5. Serve the pasta with additional cheese and let people grate LOTS on top of their pasta.

salt and pepper pasta with grana padano

Hubs could not get enough of this, and between the two of us, we scarfed the entire pound of pasta with him inquiring about whether there was more. It really is that good - a super duper simple dish that just allows a few classic flavours to shine. I call it recession gourmet. If you paired it with a green salad and some ice cream, you'd have a three course meal that you could serve to anyone - even your mother-in-law - and you'd have a delicious meal that's very easy on the wallet. Eating cheaply doesn't have to mean eating badly...

Thanks for reading! Oh, and keep voting on the poll - I'm shocked that only one person thinks I'm deluded thus far. I expected the anonymous internets to be out in full force to crush my video star dreams, lol.


Unknown said...

Sounds so yummy and simple! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE my pasta this way.... olive oil, salt, pepper, cheese. It's so simple but sooooo good. Glad you discovered it too :)

Anonymous said...

I've found myself doing something similar with my pasta dishes lately - just simple olive oil, with garlic and diced tomatoes and cheese. So simple, and I was really suprised at how tasty it was, even without the typical 'sauce' I usually use for pasta. I love it this way so much, it's on my menu for this week - to use up the leftover basil I have from making your sausage lasagna!

HumanUnit said...

YUM! My favorite comfort food is similar - spaghetti alio oglio. The key is a perfect balance of seasoning, just like you emphasized: nice, salty cooking water, good quality pasta (the two you mentioned are my faves) and yummy olive oil. I throw in a liberal amount of red pepper flakes when I'm sauteeing my garlic too.

Oh, here's a recession tip for your readers. You may be tempted to buy the domestic Parmesan. Don't do it. I just made that's tasty and all, and only $8.99 a pound instead of $14.99 ($16.99 for the organic) but NOT anything close to the real P-R. Le sigh.

Maggie said...

You just posted my ultimate comfort food. I take a bite and my whole body relaxes. I like to use thin spaghetti, and I sometimes use butter instead of olive oil. Delicious!

Maris said...

The simple ingredients make the best meals! This looks delicious!

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