Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cooking for one is no fun

For the past three days, I have been eating black fettuccine with tomato sauce, wild-caught shrimp and arugula that I prepared Sunday night (recipe follows). It's delicious, of course, but with my wife and son away, I am rediscovering how difficult it is to cook for one.

When I was single, I put aside Sunday evenings to cook that day's dinner and four meals for the week ahead. I might roast a chicken and prepare a pound of pasta, diving them into five meals and supplementing them with salad and bread. Friday nights were for takeout and Saturday nights were for my only restaurant meal of the week.

Now that I am married, we cook our five meals individually (until I'm left alone and resort to my old methods).

Black fettuccine for seafood lovers

1 pound wild-caught shrimp
1 can of anchovies in oil
black squid-ink fettuccine, 12 ounces to 16 ounces
1 32-ounce jar of Fairway Market pasta sauce, any variety
large bunch of arugula or basil
red-pepper flakes
dehydrated garlic chips or chopped fresh garlic to taste
Italian seasoning
extra-virgin olive oil

Boil water for pasta, add extra-virgin olive oil to a sautee pan. In a separate pot with lid, heat sauce, anchovies in oil, garlic and Italian seasoning.
Devein and shell shrimp, and season with red-pepper flakes, salt and ground black pepper. Sautee until shrimp curl up and turn pink, turning once. Don't overcook.
The handmade pasta I bought took three to four minutes to cook al dente.
Add drained pasta, shrimp and roughly chopped arugula or basil to pot with sauce and, using tongs, mix well.
Serve with salad, good bread and red wine. Serves four.

Preparation tip: No matter how well I wash arugula, some grit always seems to stay behind. So the next time, I will use fresh basil and plenty of it. You will not taste the anchovies, which dissolve, but they will give your sauce a new dimension.

Squid Ink PastaImage by nhanusek via Flickr

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