Pantry Dinner: Spaghetti with Tomato Paste and Garlic
An easy dinner made with ingredients from the pantry.
- Servings: Makes 4 side servings or 2 to 3 generous main portions.
Everyone has nights when you get home late and find there's nothing in the refrigerator. Or you just don't have the energy to stop at the market on the way home. Or maybe you get surprised with a dinner guest. Here's a favorite pasta recipe that's made with only four ingredients, all of which you probably already have on hand (or you will after you read this recipe): spaghetti, tomato paste, olive oil and garlic.
You can make this dish in the time it takes to bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti.
- 1 pound spaghetti or linguine or other long pasta because this is a sauce for a long strand so that the "sauce" can slick it.
- 1 can of tomato paste (or the equivalent squeezed from a tube -- about 1/2 of a cup)
- 2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves sliced very thin
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Do not add oil.
- Add spaghetti and cook al dente.
- While the spaghetti is cooking, using a large fry pan or sauté pan, add olive oil and bring to moderate heat.
- Peel and slice the garlic. Add to the oil and cook until tender with just a little color. Don't brown it.
- Lower the heat and add the tomato paste to the oil/garlic mixture and using a wooden spoon, spread the paste into the oil so that it can cook a bit. You want to remove the raw taste from the tomato paste and create a mix of tomato/oil/garlic.
- When the spaghetti is done, quickly drain it and add to the pan containing the tomato/oil/garlic mixture and toss with tongs so that the spaghetti gets completely coated.
Tip: Never, ever add oil when you're cooking pasta because it will keep any sauce from sticking to the pasta. The exception is lasagna because the oil keeps the large pieces of pasta from sticking together in the boiling water.