We all need emergency meals some days. I’ve been eyeing this – a soupy sort of one pot pasta that’s a staple in Rome, and the sort of humble home-cooked meal that intrigues me most about visiting such a place. (Although yes, I would also make the trip just for the pizza.) As with most staples of this kind, there are as many variations as there are people who make it. This particular version is cooked quickly on the stovetop, pasta and all, which allows the starch from the pasta to thicken the sauce. It works-truly. I brought it in to CBC this morning as an example of the sort of last-minute I-don’t-know-what’s-for-dinner emergency meal you can rummage through your pantry for and eat in 20 minutes rather than give in to take out.
Choose a small shape that cooks quickly, or use broken lasagna noodles if you have a few left at the end of the box, or a bunch of different small pasta shapes tossed in together if you have a few kinds to get rid of. If you have a Parmesan rind around, toss that into the pot too— and don’t be afraid to add a sprig of rosemary, a chopped carrot, a bit of crumbled sausage or anything else you think would be delicious. In fact, I’m already plotting to add a handful of cheese to the mix.
Although there are hundreds of similar versions out there, I took direction from Deb’s Smitten Kitchen (recognizing those small pasta hoops, called anellini, which I had a quarter bag of in the back of the cupboard), who took hers from Rachel Roddy at the Guardian.