When you’re looking for a quick dinner fix, pasta is the obvious option. When I’m in a particularly can’t-be-bothered-to-cook-but-need-food-pronto mood, I run a mental inventory of the fridge and the cupboards, before generally putting the kettle on and grabbing a packet of penne.
This evening, I found myself drifting into this kind of mood, after a day of tiresome essay-drafting and reading. I knew, from where I sat at my desk upstairs, that the cupboards were rather empty: but that there were tomatoes, and pasta, and cheese, and that was everything one could need.
I threw together a speedy and easy spinach, garlic, and tomato sauce, to top a big bowl of spaghetti. A good sprinkling of chilli flakes and a generous squirt of lemon juice added plenty of flavour.
- 100g of your preferred pasta (spaghetti holds the sauce well)
- a clove of garlic
- chilli flakes
- half a lemon
- seven or eight cherry / plum tomatoes
- a few handfuls of fresh spinach, or about three blocks of frozen
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- mature cheddar cheese
Finely chop the clove of garlic and slice the tomatoes in half. Get a pan of water boiling.
Weigh out your pasta, or measure it by hand if you’ve got that pasta-estimation gift. Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan.
As the pasta is boiling, begin lightly cooking the tomatoes. When they are beginning to break down, add the garlic, and a teaspoonful of chilli flakes.
If using frozen spinach, put in a bowl with water to cover, and microwave for three minutes on a high heat, or until defrosted. Drain in a colander. If using fresh spinach, begin wilting it into the pan with the tomatoes.
Drain the pasta. Incorporate the tomatoes and spinach, and season well with salt and pepper, and more chilli if needed. Squeeze the lemon over the top.
Dish over the pasta, grate a huge quantity of cheese on top, and dig in!