PANTRY PASTA: COMFORT FOOD

Your day was meh. If you’re anything like me, you come home to the place where you can shut out the rest of the world, put on what ever old thing makes you comfortable, maybe a little music and maybe a glass of wine or a beer. Okay, feeling a bit better you peruse the take-out menu folder and shuffle through it like you don’t have it memorized.

Pizza? no. Chinese? no. Okay, I have a suggestion for you. Hit the pantry. Go in and pull out all of those jars and cans that have been sitting on the shelf. Look through the fridge. Is there a box of pasta? Spaghetti? Good. Here’s the recipe — and I use that word loosely — that I make when I want honest to goodness, simple comfort food in a hurry.

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A can of good imported tuna starts the dish. Put a big pot of water up to boil for the spaghetti. While that’s happening, amass your ingredients. Garlic, one clove or two chopped, one lemon, anchovy if you have it and if you have them in the fridge, capers, olives and artichokes. If you only have some of these ingredients just use what’s on hand.

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Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to a good size sauté pan. While that’s heating up finely chop your garlic and toss it in. Follow that with juice from a fresh lemon, a tablespoon or two of capers, chopped olives if you have them and an anchovy or two diced to bits. The anchovy melts away but leaves a salty depth to the dish. Add the can of tuna. Is there a little white wine left over in the fridge? Add a splash of that too. The dryer the better…Chardonnay works here but so does vermouth.

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Chop the artichokes — marinated are fine in this dish, plain will also work — and toss them in the pan with all of the other ingredients.

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Your water should be boiling at this point so salt it and cook the spaghetti until it’s al dente. We like to put a healthy tablespoon of crushed red pepper in the dish. If you don’t like a lot of heat use less or use black pepper, but don’t add salt. This dish is plenty salty on its own.

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This is where you add the pasta to the pan. Swirl the sauce into the pasta and let it sit for a minute.

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If you like parmesan cheese, by all means shred a bit on top of the this salty, tangy, bold flavored tumble of pasta. This is the dish that makes me happy when things don’t necessarily go according to plan.

Now you know much too much about me. Is there something that you pull out of the pantry to make you happy? Cookies? A can of Chef Boyardee Ravioli? Kraft Mac and cheese? What is your go-to happy-place dish?

 

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