You know that feeling when you hack something that’s part of your everyday routine to make life simpler? Like figuring out that fastest route to get to work. Or determining exactly how long it takes to fix or not fix your hair and still have time to hit the snooze one-more-time. Or mastering the perfect drink order at Sonic or Starbucks to maximize your caffeine intake and still pay less money. Okay, maybe these are all super specific to my life, but you catch my drift — you feel like your own hero when you figure out the best and most efficient ways to live your own life. (Instead of making the same mistakes constantly or wasting time.)
One of the questions people love to ask me when they learn about C&L is “Do you always cook like this? What do you usually eat for dinner?” I usually laugh a little and promise that the answer is no, not at all. I live a super full life — most nights are booked with obligations and very little time to cook elaborate or gourmet dinners, so I value routine and ease during the week. Sure, I never buy frozen pizzas or microwaveable meals, but I don’t eat blog worthy food every night of the week by any means. My week nights include lots of rice, chicken breast, veggies, noodles, eggs, soup, and made-up meals with whatever is in my pantry.
Then, one day a couple months ago, my friend Christie unknowingly added a new weekly staple to my list. She mentioned a one-pan-pasta that she often made and I immediately asked her to send me the recipe. How had I ever lived 23 years of my life not knowing that you could make an entire pasta dish in ONE POT!? Why was everyone not talking about this? Who was keeping this a secret from me? Dramatic, maybe — but seriously, this is the kind of week night life hack I had been dreaming about.
This is not just some pasta you casually throw together knowing it will take 30 minutes and be mediocre at best. This will take you 15 minutes and be fool-proof delicious — it has yet to let me down. It’s from Martha Stewart herself, so if you have doubts, take them up with her. I stand by it and I hope after you try it, it makes you feel like a hero too.
- Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with oil and Parmesan.
- Leave the lid off the pan while the pasta is cooking. If you leave the lid on, the pan will stay very hot and the sauce will evaporate — don't burn off the saucy goodness!
- Believe it or not, 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes really adds a good kick! If you can't handle a bit of spice, try 1/4 tsp. instead or adjust according to your taste buds.
- If you don't have whole basil leaves on hand (aka Kroger in Bowling Green is out of stock every time I go!) use freshly chopped basil that you can always find at the grocery with the fresh herbs.
- 12 oz. of linguine is NOT the entire box! Most pasta boxes are 16 oz. of dried noodles, so take a out a little bit of the pasta before you get cooking to make sure the pasta to water ratio is correct.