A very simple 10-minute pasta dish that does not look much but packs a punch of flavours. The quickness comes especially useful when I have to feed my hangry wife. One tip is to allow the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce, so that starch from the pasta thickens the sauce.
1 min of preparation, 10 mins of cooking.
This recipe was prepared for a dinner of 1 person.
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
10g of butter
another 5g of butter at the end
2-3 slices of salted anchovies
80g of spaghetti
Bring a pot of water to boil. After the water boils, add a generous pinch of salt and the spaghetti. The spaghetti should almost cook but not entirely. As a guide, let them cook in the pot for 2 minutes less than the cooking time indicated on the package.
At the same time, in a separate pan, heat olive oil on a low-medium flame. Add 10g butter and anchovies to melt. Use a spatula to gently mix them together. Lower the flame to its lowest setting if you are still waiting for the spaghetti to almost cook.
When the spaghetti are almost cooked, use a pasta ladle to transfer it from the pot into the pan. Mix the spaghetti with the sauce.
On a medium-high flame, add a ladle of the “pasta water” from the pot (that the spaghetti were cooking in), to let the spaghetti finish cooking in the sauce.
Once the spaghetti are al dente, switch off the flame. Add 5g of butter and mix it well with the pasta to add a velvet texture to the dish.
Rustic Italian meal of Naples of pasta, potatoes, mussels and a dash of tomato. This dish brought me back to the beautiful sea and coast of the Mediterranean.
10 mins of preparation, 30-40 mins of cooking.
This recipe was prepared for a dinner of 2 persons.
extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
2 peeled tomatoes (from a can of peeled tomatoes / pelati)
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced into thick chunks
3 bags of 454g frozen mussels whole, unthawed
2 small slices of pecorino cheese
150g of gomiti pasta (or any other rustic “bronze-drawn” pasta can be used)
additional pecorino cheese
a handful of basil leaves
ground black pepper
I. Steam the mussels
Add olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic and frozen mussels into a pot. Heat on low flame with the pot covered, for 20 minutes or until the frozen water has melted and become warm. The frozen mussels must be “fresh out of the freezer” when you do this.
II. Prepare the sauce
While the mussels are steaming, in a separate pot, heat olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic until golden.
Add peeled tomatoes. Crush with the spatula and stir to cook for 2 minutes.
Add potatoes and allow to cook for 2 minutes, to absorb the oil.
Add hot water to cover the potatoes.
Add 2 thick slices of pecorino. Cover the pot and allow to simmer on low flame for 10-15 minutes.
III. Strain and clean the mussels
While the sauce is simmering, check that the mussels are steamed. Strain the water into a bowl to get rid of impurities. This water of the mussels will be used for the sauce.
Remove the shells of the mussels.
IV. Complete the dish
After the potatoes have cooked and become soft, add the strained water of the mussels into the sauce pot.
Add pasta into the sauce pot. If needed, add more water.
Bring the pot to a boil on medium-high flame, stirring until the pasta is almost cooked. For this recipe, cook the pasta 2 minutes before it is al dente, as it will continue to cook in the sauce as it rests.
Switch off the flame, add the mussels, and cover the pot. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, add grated pecorino to taste and a bit of olive oil. Stir well.
Add basil and ground black pepper to taste.
Where we bought our ingredients in Singapore:
Frozen mussels (Pier 33 Gourmet Fully Cooked Mussels All Natural, 454g per packet) – Foodies Market or Fairprice
Peeled tomatoes / pelati (La Corvinia, 400g) – Foodies Market
“Bronze-Drawn” or trafilata al bronzo refers to the way the pasta is processed, which produces a rough texture which releases more starch when it cooks and absorbs more of the sauce it is mixed with.
A can usually contains 4-5 tomatoes, so you will not be using the whole can. Store the rest in the fridge.
Alternatively, Fresh Mussels
If using fresh mussels, cook for only 2-3 minutes (with the pot covered) until the shells open up. Shells that do not open up are dead and should be discarded.
As basil leaves in Singapore are relatively expensive and irregular in supply at the supermarkets, we have been growing our own for the past 3 years. We grew them from seeds, in sand, with 2-weekly goat manure (from Tiong Bahru Market), and semi-shaded along our corridor.