When you’re in a hurry and have nothing in the fridge …
All you need is pasta, fresh garlic, olive oil, and grated Parmesan cheese to cook up this simple, but delicious, pantry meal. You can have dinner on the table in a little more than it takes your pasta water to boil.
If you’re out of fresh herbs, just add a teaspoon of dried basil and/or oregano to the sauce.
To round off this quick meal, serve with a bagged salad or sautee zucchini/ prewashed spinach in the same skillet (before you start the pasta).
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
4 T tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
1 lb linguine or capellini
4 T fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 T fresh basil, shredded
Finely julienned scallions, for garnish (optional)
Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Put water on to boil in a stock pot.
While you wait for the water to boil, in a nonreactive skillet large enough to hold the pasta, combine the oil, tomato paste, garlic, 1 t salt, and pepper. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
When the water boils, add salt (the water should taste as salty as a broth) and pasta. Stir immediately to keep the pasta from sticking together. Cook until al dente.
Before draining, scoop up a cup or two of the hot pasta water and set aside.
Drain the pasta and add immediately to the skillet. (Most of the time I just scoop up the linguine with a pasta server and transfer it directly to the skillet. A little water clinging to the pasta works with this recipe).
Toss well. Incorporate the reserved pasta water a little at a time as needed for the sauce to coat the pasta.
Add parsley and basil. Transfer to plates, garnish with the scallions, and serve immediately with grated cheese.
When the garlic just begins to turn golden, add:
- shrimp and saute
- or a can of chopped clams with the juice and heat through
Source: Food & Wine 2011