When I worked in food publishing and public relations, one might have believed that all I did was eat out (I did, quite a bit), but the truth was, when I wasn’t dining out, I was coming home weary from work (like most of us) and just wanted an easy dinner that I didn’t have to shop for. Something soulful but simple that, with a bottle of wine, could take the rest of the day away.
I started pulling together dishes with the thing I know best—pasta—and using whatever items I had lying about. I would put the pot of water on to boil and in the meantime, rummage through my cupboards cobbling a dish together. I’d sauté garlic and red pepper flakes, melt anchovies into olive oil, toss in leftover greens to wilt, and chop and toast whatever nuts I had for a topping. Before I knew it, we were sitting down to dinner. Eager to share my creations with friends to help them get out of their own weeknight rut, I started posting photos online, tagging them #backpocketpasta. Post-work cooking suddenly went from daunting to delightful.
All the recipes I’ve included here are inspired by that same principle. If you have a well-stocked pantry and shop somewhat seasonally, a back pocket pasta is never more than a pot of boiling water away.
Reprinted from Back Pocket Pasta. Copyright © 2017 by Colu Henry. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Peden + Munk. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.