During a recent visit to the bookstore, I picked up Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant. The book features a collection of short essays (which end with recipes) about cooking and eating alone.
One of the first essays I read in the book was by Amanda Hesser. She talked through the meal she made herself one night when her significant other was out of the house. She made a beautiful point about the fact that we often don't cook well for ourselves when we cook only for ourselves. I've definitely gotten home to an empty house and thrown a microwave dinner in more times than I can count. And that's a little funny, if you think about it, since I am obsessed with food and cooking.Hesser made a point that cooking a great meal for just you is a way of respecting yourself. I like this logic a lot, and so today I'm offering up a recipe that is meant only for one person (though obviously you can double it if you like) and that capitalizes on the best your garden or green market currently has to offer.
My mother taught me this combination after plucking fresh tomatoes and basil from her garden one day this summer, and mincing some garlic she'd picked up from the green market earlier that day. It is the epitome of fresh comfort food. (Note, do remove the skins from the tomatoes--it's a neat trick to learn, especially because skinless tomatoes produce a sweeter sauce, with no bitter taste coming in from the skins.)
Garden Fresh Spaghetti
By Alexandra Rogers
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 plum or roma tomatoes, skins removed
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup roughly minced basil
1 serving of your favorite type of spaghetti noodle (usually 1/8 the box)
salt to taste
grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Bring water to boil in a medium pot. Once water is boiling, add in spaghetti and cook for several minutes, until it has reached your desired consistency. Pour pasta into a colander to drain the water and set aside.
Roughly dice the skinless tomatoes.
Heat extra virgin olive oil in a medium chef's pan, over medium/medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Then, add the diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Cook tomatoes and garlic together for about 3 minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti noodles (I used capellini) and stir to coat pasta in tomato sauce. Add minced basil and salt to taste. If using parmesan, add before serving.