Cooking at university is a funny one. Even for me, who loves cooking, it was tricky to figure out a good balance of convenient yet healthy meals and even I fell into the trap of take out, ready meals and sweet sugar hits for a large part of my first year.
Speedy meals are a skill. It takes one set of skills to make a gourmet supper in twelve hours; it’s a whole other story to make a simple, quick and healthy supper every night without having to resort to a boring green salad that gets old really fast. I regret to say that I have not mastered this skill 100% but I have managed to find one or two reliable recipes that save me when I’m tired and just want food. This simple take on spaghetti is one of them. In fact, this may have been my single most consumed meal of my first year.
Sure, jarred sauce is probably the quickest way to go when you feel like pasta for supper. The problem is that, in my opinion, most jarred sauces don’t taste that great. Plus, they’re usually full of sugar and weird additives, which isn’t great if you’re a bit more health conscious. What I love about this pasta is that the sauce only takes as long to make as the pasta takes to cook. Then you just toss it all together and you’re done. Almost as quick as jarred sauce but significantly tastier and better for you.
The key to this pasta is combining a few simple ingredients that are full of flavour. We’re going for a bit of sweetness from the tomatoes, which also gives the dish a classic spaghetti feel, and lots of bold salty/sharpness from the capers, lemon juice and Parmesan. It’s pretty awesome how a few really good ingredients can make something that feels so special.
Give this a go one weeknight. It’s saved me after many a long day of studying.
Ingredients – Serves One
About 15 Cherry Tomatoes
3 tsps Capers in Brine
Juice of half a Lemon
A good grating of Parmesan Cheese (how much is really up to you and your personal preference)
Salt and Pepper
Start by getting your spaghetti cooking, which you can do as per package instructions.
Get a frying pan ready over a medium heat.
Halve your cherry tomatoes and grate your Parmesan.
Once your pan has heated up, add a splash of olive oil and your tomatoes. Cook until your tomatoes have started to break down and release their juices, stirring every now and then.
When your tomatoes are nice and soft, add your capers and lemon juice to the pan.
By now your pasta should be almost ready. Once it is cooked to your liking, drain the water and add the pasta to the pan with your tomato and caper mixture. Toss well to coat.
Sprinkle over your Parmesan along with some salt and pepper, give everything a quick toss to incorporate the cheese and, voila! Dinner is ready in less than fifteen minutes.