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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pasta from the Pantry with Mark Bittman and Arthur Schwartz

Two events converge. First: there is terrible weather in much of the country. Second: Mark Bittman is giving up his Minimalist cooking column in the New York Times.

The first event means that you don't want to go out. It may be DANGEROUS to go out. Therefore, cooking dinner from the pantry is in order. The second event means that there's a Minimalist Nostalgia Fest going on at the New York Times.

Here's one of my favorite Minimalist columns: it features Arthur Schwartz aka The Cooking Maven and pantry cooking.

Here's something I make all the time.


Time: 20 minutes


1/2 pound thin spaghetti

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or lard

2 large cloves garlic, lightly smashed and peeled

4 eggs

Freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese, optional.

1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Start the sauce in the next step, and start cooking the pasta when the water boils.

2. Combine garlic and 4 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the garlic, pressing it into the oil occasionally to release its flavor; it should barely color on both sides. Remove the garlic, and add the remaining oil.

3. Fry the eggs gently in the oil, until the whites are just about set and the yolks still quite runny. Drain the pasta, and toss with the eggs and oil, breaking up the whites as you do. (The eggs will finish cooking in the heat of the pasta.) Season to taste, and serve immediately, with cheese if you like.

Yield: 2 or 3 servings.

Here's something I'm going to make. This takes ingredients that are probably in everyone's cupboards.


Time: 20 minutes

1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, or about 2 pounds peeled fresh tomatoes

Salt to taste

1 pound linguine or spaghetti

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Red pepper flakes to taste

3 tablespoons minced basil or parsley.

1. Cut tomatoes into strips, discarding seeds and juice; place in a strainer to drain while you bring a pot of salted water to the boil for the pasta. Start the sauce in the next step, and start cooking pasta when water boils.

2. Combine tomatoes, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a 10-inch skillet, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook briskly for about 5 minutes (8 minutes for fresh tomatoes), stirring occasionally. The tomatoes should remain in pieces, and there should be no liquid remaining in the pan other than the oil.

3. Toss the pasta with the sauce and the basil or parsley, and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

And here are my favorite cookbooks by Bittman and Schwartz.

Thanks guys.


Anonymous said...

Well, we are snowed in and we have a many bean soup on the menu this evening. We'll see how many days before we can begin to move around again...may get to try this recipe. I recently came across a recipe for eggs with red beans and rice too.

SewingLibrarian said...

This recipe from Real Simple magazine qualifies as a pantry recipe for me because I always have broccoli, carrots, and peppers in the refrigerator. It's very good.
Asian Rice and Vegetable Bowl With Eggs
I'm looking for more recipes with eggs as an alternative to meat and fish. I have quite a few vegetarian dishes I like, but my husband prefers to see his protein up front.

Shelley said...

Two excellent recipes! Except Bill won't eat spaghetti, so it'll have to be pasta shapes (he just doesn't have the knack and he's a messy eater at the best of times. Spaghetti just defeats him, poor guy.) I've enjoyed a runny fried egg on top of a pile of rice before (you just have to have a bit of starch to soak up the yolk, I think), but never thought of pasta. The tomato dish is brill as well; we just found tinned tomatoes on sale and stocked up! Thanks again!

Funny about Money said...

Those both sound wonderful! Can't eat eggs but can appreciate when a dish with them would be great. The tomato version is definitely a gotta-try-it.

Shelley said...

Right, I've tried the fried eggs and pasta and it was good. Bill turned his nose up until I explained just how it would be made. I confess that I left the garlic in and didn't just put the eggs over pasta, but all the oil, garlic and eggs (I just couldn't not). I would possibly use less pasta or cut the recipe in half anyhow - we had loads of leftovers. Warmed up egg and pasta was OK, not great. The little that's left after two meals (the second as a side dish) is going into soup. Will have to buy more pasta to try the other recipe, but not yet. Still have plenty of brown rice and couscous to use up before another big shop.

Duchesse said...

The pasta and egg recipe really depends on the quality of the cheese. Doesn't it always! I'm gonna try the linguine with tomatoes with my veg nephew... but for us (no one is stone veg here) I might sneak in a few anchovy fillets :)

Frugal Scholar said...

@Terri--Louisiana red beans and rice? How is the egg added? Do tell...sounds like my kind of recipe.

@Sewing--Will definitely try that. Thanks so much.

@Funny--I have a strange relationship to eggs myself, but can eat them now and again. Bittman says the tomato dish is "amazingly fresh tasting." Will try soon.

@Shelley--I have to say that Bittman is great on ideas, but not always the best on execution. Glad it turned out. I love the fried egg on spaghetti when the yolk is runny.

@Duchesse--I think good eggs make a difference too. Oh, I must learn to like anchovies--those little hairs really bother me.