A Plateful of Summer

Day 1 and Day 2 of Martha Stewart's One-Pan Pasta. Photos by Esha Samajpati © All rights reserved

When asked about your summer, I am pretty sure you don’t launch into a step-by-step description of a certain one-pan pasta and how it defined an entire season for you. Food wise, that is. Well, neither do I. Also, when people compliment the potted basil in your kitchen, you don’t tell them that you got it to make sure you always had the herb part nailed down when and if you feel like making afore-mentioned pasta dish. No, of course not. What kind of a person does that?

Let us for a moment say that I am that person. Then you would want to know more about this seemingly superb pasta dish, wouldn’t you? So here goes.

The “difficult” part of this entire endeavor involves chopping a single white onion, around four cloves of garlic, and halving a handful of cherry tomatoes. After you are done with the chopping board, there’s really not much to it.

Pour yourself a glass of wine.

Then put everything you prepped along with a pound of pasta into a pot. Add a couple of glugs of olive oil, a pinch of salt, some pepper, a teaspoon of red pepper flakes (if you like some heat), and a couple of sprigs of basil. Then add 4-5 cups of water.

This is not your run-of-the-mill “boil water first and then add pasta” recipe. This is simpler. And it makes your kitchen smell like a herb garden, like “I want that in a bottle” kind of herb garden.

Turn on the heat, pick up that glass of wine, and wait for at least nine minutes. Depending on your pot, the heat, and other variables, your dinner will be ready soon thereafter. And when it’s done, scoop it off the pot, sprinkle on some parmesan and wolf it down before the cheese has a chance to melt.

That’s how I would eat it anyway.

Notes for those who may want to take a shot at this summer-y dish –

The original recipe (which you can find here) calls for four and a half cups of water. We had to add an extra cup. Also, we had a bunch of colorful heirloom tomatoes at hand so that is what went in, and by the way, we used whole wheat spaghetti instead of linguine.

The second time around we played around with the original ingredients. Not because there was anything wrong with them. We tweaked because we didn’t have the red cherry tomatoes and rigatoni is better suited for a toddler’s lunch. So we added roma tomatoes and one big beefsteak tomato instead of the tiny sweet bombs and topped off the spread with mozzarella and sweet basil oil.

Third time around we added tomato-basil chicken sausages for some protein action. Doesn’t photograph as well. Tastes divine.