It’s 5 o’clock. You’re headed home, you’re tired, and you’re hungry. You want some real people food, but you don’t really want to make food or mess up a lot of dishes. Or maybe you have a last-minute date with a new romantic interest. Or maybe your best friend has had a bad day and you want to treat them to some starch and wine. In case of emergencies such as these, make this pasta.
Yes, you could dump a jar of pasta sauce over pasta and call it a day, but you’re in the mood to accomplish something. Also, you ran out of pasta sauce yesterday.
To serve one, you’ll need:
- Pasta enough to sate your appetite (I’m a linguini fiend, but any long pasta will do)
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on how you feel about garlic, chopped finely
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Parmesan or romano or whatever shredded cheese you have, about 1/4 cup (this does not need to be exact)
- A couple generous tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Or butter.
- Bonus: pine nuts or chopped walnuts if you have them.
To make, do this:
- Boil some water. Add salt as it comes to a boil. Put your pasta in to cook according the package directions. Pro-tip: check for doneness a minute before the package claims. I often find that it’s perfectly al dente by that point.
- While you’re waiting for the pasta to cook, heat up a small pan with the olive oil (or butter). Chop up your garlic into small pieces and toss that in the hot oil. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook this for about a minute. Turn the oil/garlic/pepper mixture into a bowl.
- As soon as the pasta is done, drain it in a colander. Don’t rinse! Just put it into your bowl and toss it with the oil mixture. Add cheese. If you have the pine nuts or chopped walnuts, add them.
Dinner is served.