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Quickest, easiest, tastiest pasta dish


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I know some purists would say the best would

be fresh pasta tossed with nothing more than olive oil,

garlic and parsley. I like fast, simple and tasty, but

a wee bit more than that.

Mine, which I suppose is close to an Amatriciana (sp?),

is tossed with sauteed onions, mushrooms, garlic and back bacon and,

just before serving, folded with fresh chopped tomatoes and

asiago. Oh, and some chili flakes. Fast, simple, delish.

What's your ol' reliable?

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Any smallish shaped pasta tossed with brown butter, toasted breadcrumbs and chick peas. All stuff you should have in your fridge/pantry even if you haven't been grocery shopping in a month -- as is often the case in our house! (edit) ooh -- and a pinch of esplette pepper in there is great too!!

Edited by amclaud (log)
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my absolute favorite is a large can of tomatoes, either onions or garlic (depending on my mood), a can of decent tuna, and a handful of fresh bay leaves (from my bay tree) all simmered together while the pasta is boiling

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"


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I'm with you on the Amatriciana. Fry bacon (or, better, pancetta), soften onions in the fat, a dash of red pepper, add some diced tomatoes, simmer until thickened, serve over bucatini if possible with grated parmesan or grana. Wonderful.

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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It has to be a Puttanesca for me! I've got tins of anchovies, jars of capers and olives just for puttanesca. It has to be one of the quickest and most satisfying pasta dishes!

"Live every moment as if your hair were on fire" Zen Proverb

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For me eating alone Acini Pepe "like pastina" with milk and butter or cook it in chicken stock with a garlic clove, mostly drain the stock out then smash the garlic and add olive oil and romano cheese

family gets "cabinet spaghetti" fresh garlic hot pepper canned tomatoes canned crab or clams white beans olive oil stock...whatever


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers


Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

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Puttanesca is definitely my favourite "quick" pasta dish. Usually with spaghettini or capellini.

Failing that, carbonara is always great. And a simple dish of penne tossed with store-bought pesto, butter, parm, lots of cracked pepper and fresh basil is a lovely thing.

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Carbonara for me. All the prep can literally be done while the spaghetti is boiling. About 10 minutes from start to finish.

In fact, we made some tonight. As usual, I could not make enough of it for the four of us.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I always add chopped rosemary to my Amatriciana at about the stage when I've sauteed the onions and pancetta. Then red wine, canned tomato, and simmer to thicken. Since rosemary is the only think in my garden I haven't managed to kill, I consider it an honorary storecupboard staple.

I'm also fond of (shhh...) a pasta sauce of sauted onions/shallots, canned tuna and pesto from a jar. Capers optional. Squeeze lemon over when you serve.

But my favourite quick sauce is puttanesca. Garlic, black olives (cheap, ready pitted, from a can), anchovies (also cheap, canned) and capers (ditto). Canned tomato and wine simmered to thicken. I've tried making puttanesca with posher ingredients (salted anchovies and capers, good olives) but I'm not convinced it was any better.

What do other posters think? Does puttanesca benefit from more upscale ingredients?

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Waitrose in the uk sells a jar of Puttanesca ingrediants ready chopped (olives, anchovies, capers - don't know if they put chilli in as well) in oil ready to add with tomatoes - and I suppose you could use it for other things too.

Not tried it - I worry the olives and capers may be a bit dried out, but I might try a jar and report back.

My quick storecupboard fix is tinned sardines (Good ones, in Evoo - I get ones which are packed with a chilli pepper too sometimes) garlic, chilli, a little bit of tomato and white wine (Or quite often vermouth).

Or bacon (Sometimes pancetta, but often good quality dried cured british stuff) cooked in butter with a little onion, garlic and peas. A little wine if I have any too.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Vodka sauce:

- Saute some red pepper flakes and garlic in EVOO

- Add can of chopped tomatos (28 oz is good for 1LB pasta)

- Cook slow while the pasta boils (usually something chunky - penne, shells, etc)

- Drain pasta and dump into sauce

- Add a few TBs of vodka and a nice pour of cream

- Add some parsley or basil

- All done!

It has a nice spiciness to it, and if you've never had it or don't know what's in there, you would never guess it's vodka...

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I know how some here feel about Cook's Illustrated, but their Puttanesca is the best I've ever had. I've served it to many friends, it's always a huge hit. I really think the reason it's so good is their tip to not chop the olives too finely, and not cook them to death. They retain their character. Yum!

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Butter or olive oil, and copious amounts of parmagiano reggiano. Sometimes also freshly ground black pepper. Couldn't be simpler. Unfortunately, it's pretty high calorie, and so I don't fix it unless I can come up with some reason why I've had a rough day and need to indulge myself.

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Hmmm. Great responses!

I never would have considered using nuts in my

pasta (rice, yeah, but pasta?). I'll try it.

Love the vodka entry. I've seen that on restaurant

menus but never tried it.

My other fave is good-quality hot Italian sausages

(out of their casings) sauteed with garlic (always garlic), onions, mushrooms,

red pepper, celery, can of diced tomatoes, splash of white

wine and, if I need more calories (ha!), splash of heavy

cream. Oh, and some fresh basil and nutmeg. And chili flakes.

Ladle onto penne or rotini. Excruciatingly good.

I also love to sautee some scallops and prawns in olive oil,

bit of lemon juice, mushrooms, onions, garlic (of course), maybe

a splash of chicken stock, chili flakes, basil, parsley, and toss with spaghetti,

penne or whatever. Top with parm or asiago.

I guess my quickest, tastiest pasta always has to have those

four ingredients: onion, garlic, mushrooms, basil and I'm happy.

Chopped tomatoes optional.

Great ideas! Keep 'em coming!

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