How often are you desperate to eat something within the next 15 minutes? If the primary goal is that it’s easy to make and brimming with flavor, pasta may not be the first thing you think of. Or perhaps it is.
If I am making pasta, it’s generally going to be topped with Rao’s marinara sauce or a slow-cooking homemade tomato sauce. But, lately, tomatoes don’t always agree with me or David, so I no longer lean on pasta as an option. Couple that with the fact that most gluten-free pastas aren’t worthy of cooking–much less eating–and I am back at square one.
Two Reasons to Love Pasta Again
Recently, two things have changed my relationship with pasta.
Barrilla now makes a gluten-free pasta that is really good. It’s not gummy or sticky nor does it taste like cardboard. It cooks up beautifully and actually looks and tastes like real pasta. We have tried the fettucini and the spaghetti, but give the penne a shot as well.
The second pasta inspo (inspiration) occurred recently at a friend’s house. She thoughtfully and generously used Barrilla gluten-free spaghetti and blew us away with a simple and absolutely sensational 15-minute pasta dish. This pasta dish was so good, we wanted to lick our bowls. The recipe comes from my favorite Off Duty section of the Saturday Wall Street Journal.
We get the paper delivered and I devour this section every Saturday morning, but somehow this recipe slipped by me. Maybe it was that we don’t eat pasta anymore. Or maybe my friend was supposed to be the one to introduce me to my new favorite pasta dish?
Jonathan Benno is the mastermind behind this recipe. With a collection of three restaurants in New York City’s Evelyn Hotel including his eponymous Benno, as well as Leonelli Taberna and Leonelli Focacceria e Pasticceria. Benno developed his chops by working at Aqua, French Laundry, Daniel, Gramercy Tavern and Craft. He is the first American-born and trained chef to earn three Michelin stars!
Keep it Simple
The sheer simplicity of this recipe is mind-blowing because it’s packed, and I do mean packed, with flavor. And relying on Samin Nosrat’s philosophy of Salt Fat Acid Heat philosophy proves the validity of this approach to cooking.
It starts with sauteing lots of garlic in olive oil–and what could be wrong with this? The garlic permeates the oil with plenty of rich flavor to make the base of the sauce. Adding a generous heaping of red pepper flakes provides the heat. Butter gives the dish a smooth and unctuous mouthfeel, and some reserved pasta water creates a creamy sauce to make this dish a rising star on everyone’s radar. A punch of flavor is provided by the lemon zest and lemon juice. And a serious handful of fresh parsley balances everything out and adds a gorgeous, bright green color.
The combination of these basic ingredients you probably have in your fridge and pantry right now–olive oil, garlic, red chile flakes, lemon, parsley and butter–and the ease with which it comes together, are enough to warrant making this dish once a week.
Depending on the season, or your level of hunger, add sauteed shrimp, asparagus or broccoli rabe to amp up this dish or simply serve with a side salad and dinner’s set.
The next time you desperately need a meal to come together in less time than it takes for delivery to show up, lean on this 15-minute pasta dish that will have everyone asking for more.
When you are starving and can't wait for take-out, lean on this pasta dish as your new go-to. Using the most basic ingredients you probably have in your pantry right now, pasta will never be the same once you taste this. By focusing on salt, fat, acid and heat, you're going to revel in the simplicity and flavorful triumph of this dish.
- 2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
- 1 lb spaghetti gluten free, if desired
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 7 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red chile flakes if you want it a bit more spicy, add another 1/2 teaspoon of red chile flakes
- 3 tablespoons butter or vegan butter
- 6 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley minced
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- Kosher or sea salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fill a large pot with water and add the salt. Set over high heat and bring to a rolling boil.
Add spaghetti and cook until almost al dente. Reserve one cup of cooking water and set aside. Drain pasta.
Set a large pan over low heat and swirl in the olive oil, garlic and red chile flakes. Gently heat oil until garlic is aromatic, about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
When the pasta is ready, increase the heat to high and add drained pasta, butter, and half of the reserved cup of water.
Quickly toss pasta without stopping until the sauce emulsifies, thickens and coats the noodles, 1-2 minutes. If necessary, add splashes of remaining cooking water to stretch the sauce until it looks creamy and completely coats the noodles.
Turn off the heat and toss in parsley, half the lemon zest and all of the juice. Season with plenty of salt and black pepper to taste. Serve with remaining lemon zest scattered over the top.