Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Laziest dinner ever

These "watch me make dinner based on odds and ends in my fridge and pantry" posts sure are getting a lot of mileage lately. Is that because I'm feeling particularly inventive? Nope, just incredibly lazy. (In case there was any confusion about that.) It's hot, work is taking over this week, and I haven't made it to the market in way too long... such is life sometimes, right?

The easiest meals that rely on your pantry come in two forms: beans and pasta. Last night I went the pasta route. Here are the measly ingredients I scrounged from my barren refrigerator:
  • Lemons
  • Basil
  • Two eat-now-or-throw-out heirloom tomatoes
  • Scrap of parmigiano-reggiano
That's it, folks. As in, there was nothing else in the fridge except condiments, beer, limes (for gin and tonics, helloooo) and old takeout that needed to be thrown out. Here's where a well-stocked pantry comes into play. I'm a huge believer in the bulk section of my favorite natural grocer, and my pantry owes quite a bit to The Container Store. Putting in the time and effort to craft a well-stocked pantry is one of the best investments you can make for yourself - eating that way saves time (don't have to go to the market for every ingredient), saves money (it's much cheaper to buy whole foods from bins rather than packaged in the aisles), and gives you taste (these ingredients are also fresher than what you can buy in a box). Last night I pulled out a pound of wheat spaghetti and a couple cloves of garlic and threw together a tasty meal in under ten minutes. Boys night out meant that I was just cooking for myself, so I didn't feel pressured to have meat in the dish (when I lived alone I primarily ate vegetarian meals; these days, I really only eat that way when I'm only cooking for myself, which is strange, I know).

Here you have it, my laziest dinner ever - simple as can be to assemble, but packing huge flavor thanks to the lemon and fresh ingredients.

Fresh lemon spaghetti with tomatoes

Using random ingredients I had on hand:

1 pound wheat spaghetti
Two heirloom tomatoes (one big red, one small yellow), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh basil, chopped (probably 1/2 cup or so)
2 large lemons - zest and juice used
Freshly grated parm (probably 1/2 cup)
2/3 cup olive oil
salt + pepper

While the pasta's cooking, sautée the garlic and chopped tomatoes with a dash of salt, just long enough to bring out the flavors. Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, parm, salt, and pepper, then mix with the freshly cooked pasta. Stir in chopped basil and tomatoes. Season to taste, and... done.

And guess what I'll be eating cold for lunch today?


  1. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm cold pasta dishes are the best!

  2. I don't cook meals with meat when I am cooking for one either. Strange.

  3. Man..I wish I had this kind of culinary prowess. In order scrounge up something from whatever is in our pantry...we would actually have to HAVE something in our pantry. I'm such a homemaker failure...

  4. This isn't lazy at all! This is pretty much exactly how I like to cook. As a matter of fact I threw together simple carbonara last night because all we had to draw from was pasta, eggs, bacon and the heel of some parmesan. Your dish obvi wins the healthy award!

  5. Waspy - you know that scene in one of Ruth Reichl's books, when she comes home all disillusioned and is comforted by making carbonara for her family while sipping wine? That's how good I feel about your dinner last night ;-)


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