What to CookPasta

The Pantry Pasta Formula for No-Time-to-Cook Nights

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When I don’t want to cook, I cook pasta. This doesn’t totally make sense but feels right. In the colder months, I lean on slow tomato sauces, which bubble practically into jam. Nowadays, I raid the pantry for my favorite ingredients and toss them all in a bowl.

That’s how we ended up here.

If I’ve made this recipe once, I’ve made it a hundred times. And to call it a recipe at all feels almost unfair. Between you and me, I’d never measured this before, not once. But it always ended up the same.

New phone background, am I right or am I right?
New phone background, am I right or am I right? Photo by James Ransom

Which makes sense. My love for anchovies and garlic, olives and capers, olive oil and olive oil and olive oil is predictable. My fridge feels sad without parsley. And my solution to anything lackluster is, “Why don’t we add some red pepper flakes?”

Think of it like spaghetti aglio e olio made by someone feeling a liiiiiiittle greedy (it me). Instead of stopping at garlic and oil, salty and briny ingredients crash the party. But it’s still the same party—a pasta that is as much about the pasta as it is about the toppings.

Speaking of: the pasta shape. Maybe more than any other shape, spaghetti makes me smile, widely, but I’ve tried this with everything from whole-wheat penne to twisty fusilli. We could talk forever about shape-sauce pairing—and we’d have fun doing it—but the thing is, this recipe doesn’t care. It’s just comfort food. And whatever shape makes you feel the happiest, well, that’s the best shape.

Pantry Pasta With Anchovies, Olives & Capers

Pantry Pasta With Anchovies, Olives & Capers

Emma Laperruque Emma Laperruque
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Serves 3
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 bunch parsley leaves, chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped oil-cured olives
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (2-ounce) tin anchovies, drained of oil and minced into oblivion
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers, roughly chopped
  • 2 big garlic cloves (or 3 small), peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan (or pecorino)
Go to Recipe
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Another pasta we want right now

Do you have a go-to pantry pasta? What's in it? Tell us in the comments!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Pantry, Dinner, Faster, Dinner Tonight