We love to cook… except for the times we don’t.
Sometimes we need to fight the urge to order food and drive to the village to pick it up. And sometimes, even driving ten minutes to the village feels like too much work.
On days like this, the answer to the problem is often Midnight Pasta or our own version of aglio e olio.
We used to buy a pre wrapped pasta mix called Midnight Pasta, but in our attempt to avoid bringing home more plastic, we decided to look up how to make it from scratch instead.
It is traditionally a dish you make after a night out, so its designed to make when you are tired, tipsy and hungry.
When we looked into it, we discovered that there are as many versions of this recipe as there are late night tipsy cooks, hungry for pasta.
The version we use is most similar to the recipe we found in the comment section underneath another, more complicated recipe for the same dish.
Not only is it simple… it’s filling and delicious!
I don’t measure anything when I make this. I just follow my sense of what flavours I want to dominate in that particular meal.
Here is what I do:
Set a big pot of salted water to boil.
While that’s heating-
In a large, high sided frying pan, heat up a bunch of olive oil over medium-low heat.
To this, add a lot of ground black pepper and a healthy pinch of hot red pepper flakes.
While this “blooms”, chop up a whole mess of garlic. Whenever I think, “That’s a lot of garlic”, I add one more clove.
Throw the garlic into the pan, stir it into the oil and spice, then cover it and turn off the heat.
By now, the water is probably boiling.
Throw in a good handful of your choice of pasta. I like fettuccini, but spaghetti or whatever you’ve got will do.
While the pasta cooks, zest a lemon (or sometimes I cut the entire top third of the lemon, peel and all, into tiny bits - C likes this a lot!!!) and set it aside.
Chop up a boutonnière sized bunch of fresh parsley. The recipe may not need it (in fact the above photo contains NO parsley simply because we had none in the garden) but it really adds something!
When the pasta is about two or three minutes from being done, turn the burner under the garlic and spice mixture to medium and stir it up again.
When the pasta is done, drain it quickly and dump it in the pan with the garlic. Add the lemon and parsley and toss it all together.
Serve it right away with some grated Parmesan or old cheddar, or whatever cheese you like on your noodles. Or no cheese. That’s also good.
This recipe always seems to exceed the sum of its parts. So satisfying!
Play with it. I’m sure you will find your own super quick and super tasty combination for those, “I don’t wanna cook!” days.