Why? Because I love delicious, healthy, cheap, food and I hate doing dishes.
OK. So you’re in addition to the “One Pot” you’re actually going to have to use a pasta strainer (although you could just drain the water using the top of the pot and a skilled angle at the sink) and a cutting board (although you could use your counter top.)
Assuming you’ve got basic stuff like a stove, a pot, and olive oil, this meal should cost you about $5. (It cost me $6 because I went a health-food store in NYC and bought organic. But, since I only used half the ingredients to feed two people, it actually cost me $1.50 a meal!) It shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes, including boiling the water and prepping the veggies!
You will need: Spaghetti
A bushel—I’m not sure if that’s the right terminology but it’s the way they sell it in the store—of broccoli rabe
A clove of garlic and/or a bit of red onion
Grated romano or parmesan cheese
1) Fill up a big pot about 2/3rds of the way with cold–I forget why–water, put it on high heat, and put a lid on it. Actually salt the water before you put the lid on. Since you’re cooking everything in here, the salt will both make the water boil quicker and flavor everything that’ll go in it.
2) While you’re waiting for the water to boil which I think should take about 12 minutes, take about half the bushel of broccoli rabe, rinse it, and cut off the ends (just the very bottom of the stalks that may or may not have started to turn brown.)
3) Once the water boils, “blanch” the brocc. I’m pretty sure “blanch”ing (as disgusting as it sounds) is when you throw a vegetable into boiling water for a minute to brighten it up (although it’s also possible that blanching is when a woman from the 1600s vomits in her bonnet—that’s just what it sounds like to me.) Anyway, since you’ll be cooking the pasta in this water too, the pasta should rob the rabe of some of its flavor.
4) Once the water’s boiling again, take out the broccra and throw it on the cutting board under the lid from the pot, to keep it warm/cooking. Now, put the pasta—about half a thing of spaghetti or orecchiette—into the water, along with some olive oil (so the pasta doesn’t stick to the pot or itself.) Once you’ve got the pasta in there with the water boiling, turn the heat to medium.
5) While you’re waiting for the pasta to cook, use the other half of the cutting board (where you’re not storing the brabe) to chop up some garlic and/or red onion.
6) Taste the pasta every few minutes. If it’s hard, it’s not done. But, since it will continue to cook, slightly after you decide its done, try to take it out just before you think it’d be perfect. (Also remember the rest of the pasta’s cooking while you’re tasting the one piece you took out.) I like it al dente (which is a snobby way of saying almost undercooked) so I actually take it out when it’s still almost a bit unappetizing. (If you’re cooking spaghetti, trying to take it out to taste with a spoon will drive you crazy and let the pasta keep cooking longer while you’re struggling. So use the sharp knife—that you’re using to cut the veggies—held upside down.)
7) When it’s ready, strain the pasta. Leave it in the strainer and put the lid from the bra on top of the strainer to keep it warm/cooking. Meanwhile, put some olive oil and the garlic/onion in the pot. Now, chop up the bra and throw it in there as well. Once this stuff sautés for a minute or two, turn the heat off and throw the pasta back in. Add some more olive oil and a ton of ramano or parmesan and eat it right out of the pot, if you want to save a dish.
Note: If you’re up for washing a pan, this meal gets a even better when you do the sauteing in their while the pasta is cooking (instead of in the pot afterward, while the pasta patiently sits.) If you do that (which I recommend, if you work out an agreement where the person you’re feeding does the dishes) add some of the pasta water to the pan while both are cooking. I’m not sure why actually. I just remember my grandma telling me it does something helpful because of something to do with the starch. So I do it dogmatically and it’s delicious. Make sure that if you do this the water cooks out before you mix the pan stuff in with the pasta.