Pasta Revolution

Apparently, Martha Stewart turned pasta on its noodle a couple of years ago but I missed it. Thanks to a food blogger’s recent Twitter post, I’ve learned the recipe and I’m sharing it here in case you missed it too. 

It’s a nine-minute pasta dish cooked in one pan, dry pasta and all. The noodles cook and the dish makes its own sauce.

A food stylist who worked for Martha brought the recipe back from Italy after meeting a chef in a restaurant who cooked it for her and her traveling companion. It goes against formal culinary training and they thought it was fusilli until they tried it. I made it Sunday night and it was delicious, but I changed the original recipe significantly. I’ll explain, but first, here are the original directions to serve four:

12 ounces linguine
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2 cups water
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet (the linguine should lay flat). Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs or a fork, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated; about 9 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with olive oil and Parmesan.

The key is to keep the pasta moving regularly so it doesn’t stick together and you don’t end up with uncooked ends. I gave it a try, but I used spaghettini instead of linguine and canned tomatoes with some of the juice, so I reduced the water about 3/4 cup.

large, deep skillet with the tomato-spaghetti-chicken ingredients obviously bubbling

Not a big fan of onions, I omitted them and added a few sliced mushrooms and scallions in their place. I also didn’t use quite as much garlic and popped in a few crushed chillis. Near the end, it still looked a bit watery so I tossed in some sliced, cooked chicken breast. I went a little lighter on the olive oil, tossed parmesan through it and added my own fresh basil as the crowning touch. It was … exquisite. It tasted like restaurant quality fare compared to the way I usually make a spaghetti dinner, which we both quite like. But this was easier and tastier.

Not having to deal with a giant pot of boiling water – priceless. And there are endless variations to try, accounting for the type of pasta and adjusting the amount of water accordingly. I love it when something routine can be made even easier to do. The question is, where was I two years ago when the Internet was buzzing about this dish?

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