Let's give a big Mystery Lovers Kitchen welcome to today's guest, TV reporter and thriller writer and all-around fabulous friend, Hank Phillippi Ryan!HANK: Easiest recipe in the world! Got you, right?
Since I know over the holidays you all made elaborate Buche de Noel and complicated framboise souffles and labor-intensive duck a l’orange and now, you’re simply out of cooking energy, right? Well, voila—here’s the easiest recipe in the world.
I always make this on nights when I get home late and still want to come up with a delicious dinner that's quick and easy. The recipe has just a few ingredients--the key is a little parallel processing to make sure all the elements are ready at the same time. It's one of those recipes where you think you know what it's going to taste like--but it doesn't! The total of the hot peppers and the garlic and the cheese is more than the sum of the parts.
Read the whole recipe through first—that’ll make it easier to organize.
Hank's " Pasta on a Deadline"
Your favorite pasta (Penne works well, so does farfalle. Short pasta works better than long pasta. Spaghetti will work, but not as well. This recipe serves, well, three. Ish.)
Water for cooking pasta
One tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup or a little more olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup or more yummy bread crumbs
1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped smallish
Grated Parmesan cheese (the best quality you can)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Put uncooked pasta in boiling water
2. Put olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl, and put in the microwave. (I know you'll wonder if you really need the red pepper flakes--you do!)
3. When pasta is two minutes from done, cook oil mixture in microwave for
one and a half minutes on “reheat.”
4. At essentially the same time, add the chopped broccoli rabe to the cooking pasta.
5. Take the oil mixture out of the microwave (careful, it’ll be HOT!) and mix in the bread crumbs to make a paste. The consistency should be oily, not stiff, so add bread crumbs gradually.
6. When the pasta is done, the broccoli will be done. Drain the pasta/broccoli in a colander and return to hot pan.
7. Quickly add the oil and breadcrumb mixture and stir to coat pasta.
8. Serve instantly with grated cheese and fresh pepper. (You don't want this to get cold!)
**I've used regular broccoli, instead of broccoli rabe, and also chopped spinach--and it still works perfectly. The peppery flavor of the rabe is a nice addition, though. Sometimes I add hot grilled corn kernels at the same time as the oil mixture.
Use grilled zucchini instead of the broccoli, but DON’T put it in the boiling water, of course, just add it with the oil.
You can also heat the oil mixture in a sauce pan. The key is, you're just heating the oil, not cooking it.
Add grilled chicken! Add grilled shrimp!
And for gluten-free-ers, I have discovered Bionature rice pasta—it’s terrific and not cardboard like most substitute type pastas. And you don’t really need the breadcrumbs—I’m a no-carb type, so I leave them out.Happy New Year, all! And let’s see---let’s give away a copy of THE WRONG GIRL to one lucky commenter--and the Mary Higgins Clark award winning THE OTHER WOMAN to another!
Just tell us in a comment—what’s your favorite accompaniment to pasta?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate. She’s won 30 EMMYs, 12 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her ground-breaking journalism. A bestselling author of six mystery novels, Ryan has won the Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, and most recently, for THE OTHER WOMAN, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award.
Her newest thriller, THE WRONG GIRL, (What if you didn’t know the truth about your own family?) is a Boston Globe bestseller and was dubbed ""Another winner!"" in a Booklist starred review. She’s on the national board of Mystery Writers of America and 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime.
Visit her online at on Twitter @hank_phillippi and Facebook.