Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tasty Favorites: Pedro Pasta

At the urging of a couple persuasive friends, I'd like to start sharing the results of one of my pastimes: cooking. Though I enjoy making somewhat involved meals, I also like coming up with tasty foods that encourage me to eat at home. This means quick, cheap, and with minimal clean-up.

One favorite is what Sarah calls "Pedro Pasta". It's simple, delicious, and (not counting the time to boil water) takes about five minutes.

Photos courtesy of Sarah

First, an aside: I'm a huge fan of Michael Chu's Cooking for Engineers, especially his tabular recipe notation. It's an extremely elegant and concise way of displaying recipes, so I'm borrowing it for these posts.

For this recipe, I'm not too picky about quantities. The recipe is simple enough that it's easy to pick appropriate quantities based on how many people you're serving, and taste.

Pedro Pasta
Water Boil Cook Drain Toss Let sit
5 min.
Pasta
Cherry Tomatoes Cut half in half Combine
(squeeze cut)
Stir
Olive Oil
Garlic Mince
Italian Seasoning
Salt

Steps:

  1. Boil water for pasta. I generally add salt to the water to flavor the pasta and help cook it (salt water boils hotter).
  2. While the water boils, prepare the other ingredients: cut about half of the cherry tomatoes in half, and mince the garlic. If you're using fresh herbs instead of the dried "Italian Seasoning" mix (basil, oregano, rosemary, etc.), chop up the herbs as well.
  3. Add pasta to the boiling water. I like spaghetti or angel hair, but any pasta works fine.
  4. While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce: put olive oil in a large bowl, and squeeze into it the cherry tomatoes you cut in half. Then stir in the tomatoes (both squeezed and whole), garlic, herbs, and salt to taste. You'll want enough olive oil/tomato mixture to coat the pasta, but this is also largely a matter of taste.
  5. Once the pasta has finished cooking, put it into the bowl with the sauce, and toss it.
  6. Finally, let sit for five minutes or so. The heat from the pasta will cook the garlic, and generally help spread the flavors around.

And that's it. Serve with some grated Parmesan cheese, and you have a quick and tasty meal. Of course, some may complain that it's lacking in protein. To address this, I make an accompaniment:

Pedro Pasta Accompaniment
Garlic Olive Oil Heat (med-low) Lightly
sautee
Sautee Cook (med)
Extra Firm Tofu Cube
Garlic Mince
Salt
Italian Seasoning
Lemon Pepper
Red Wine

Steps:

  1. Heat some garlic olive oil over medium-low heat (regular olive oil works fine if you don't have the garlicky variety).
  2. Add cubed extra firm tofu and minced garlic, then sautee lightly, just until the tofu starts to get a bit golden.
  3. Add salt, Italian seasoning, and lemon pepper to taste (you can buy lemon pepper at just about any grocery store). Continue sauteeing until the tofu is nice and golden.
  4. Add a splash of red wine, then turn the heat up to medium and cook until the tofu browns (or however you like it).

Once finished, just throw it in with the Pedro Pasta.

If you're not vegetarian (Sarah is, but I'm not), you can use chicken instead of tofu. The steps are the same, except replace tofu with chicken, and red wine with white. Also, make sure the chicken cooks thoroughly, which may require a slightly higher temperature in the early steps.

4 comments:

sarahsam said...

My favorite quickie meal, hands down.

One comment (personal taste): halve all of the tomatoes, squeezing ~1/2. Unless they are particularly minute, they're too burdensome. Furthermore, they warm through this way. :) If they are on the larger side, I'll quarter the ones that will be squished.

Dang it. I'm making soup right now, not pedro pasta. *scowl* Tomorrow.

Pedro DeRose said...

Listen to Sarah. Despite it being called "Pedro Pasta", she's the expert, having made it many more times than I. :)

sarahsam said...

Ok, fine, I can't let it go... two last comments:

(1) I prefer to make this with angel hair- so as to now overpower the light sauce and tomatoes. (That's pure rationalization... I really just love angel hair pasta.)

(2) Since the sauce is so light/minimal, I like to grind up the dried "Italian Seasoning." It helps with the flavors and the even mix of the spices. (Again- pure rationalization. I just hate twigs in my food.)

Travis Smith said...


We stumbled over here coming from a different website and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to exploring your web page again. paypal login my account