Student cooks: Here are a couple of dishes that move away from breakfast cereal into more adventurous grain-based eating. They will also impress any guest (unlike Cap’n Crunch!).
Pasta aglio e olio
1. Cook one box of pasta. (I like angel hair or penne for this dish.) Do the following after you set the water on to boil, or, for less drama, do all the chopping beforehand.The wonderful thing about this recipe is that the proportions can vary and you’ll still have a wonderful dish. If you like garlic, put in a lot. If you like more oil, add more oil. It’s difficult to go wrong.
2. Smash and chop up some garlic, as much or as little as you like. I usually use eight or more large cloves (cloves, not heads!).
3. Cut up two or three small zucchinis into small pieces. You can also use yellow squash. The pieces can be disc-like or stick-like.
4. Chop some Italian (flat) parsley.
5. Lightly brown the garlic in olive oil in a pan. Add some red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
6. Add the zucchini to the pan. Zucchini has lots of water in it; it’ll take a while to cook. The browner the zucchini gets, the better the flavor. (You don’t want a “steamed” effect.)
7. Add oil and salt and pepper as necessary. If you want to make the dish a bit funky, add a tin of mashed-up anchovies (and omit the salt).
8. When the zucchini is just about done, add the parsley. If need be, you can let everything sit in the pan on low heat until the pasta is done.
9. Drain the pasta and mix it in the pan with everything else.
10. Serve with Parmesan or Romano cheese.
Pasta with tuna and lemon
1. Cook one box of pasta. (I like farfalle—bowties—for this dish.) Do the following after you set the water on to boil, or, for less drama, do all the chopping beforehand.These dishes are simple and amazingly delicious. I’ve been making them for years. The first is my memory of a recipe in the Village Voice (a weekly New York newspaper); the second is more or less from a PBS cooking show called Cucina amore.
2. Smash and chop up some garlic, as much or as little as you like. I usually use three or four cloves.
3. Open and drain two cans of solid-white tuna in water. (Nothing but the best!)
4. Squeeze the juice from one lemon. If you’re patient, you can scrape some of the zest (the yellow part of the skin) from the lemon to add.
5. Chop some Italian (flat) parsley.
6. Lightly brown the garlic in olive oil in a pan. Add some red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
7. Add the tuna, and mash it up. Add more oil if necessary.
8. Add the lemon juice (and zest).
9. Add oil and salt and pepper as necessary.
10. After everything has cooked a bit, add the parsley.
11. Drain the pasta and mix it in the pan with everything else.
12. Serve with—you guessed it—Parmesan or Romano cheese.