I have been enjoying , on the recommendation of the chocolate lady, a book called The Unplugged Kitchen by Viana La Place.You might like to read it, too. I will not go on about it, except to say that I don't think you have to share her style of cooking or approach to food to feel refreshed and invigorated by it. This simple and surprising pasta recipe comes from that book.
Pretty much every cook I know likes to make a plain pasta recipe sometimes, when he or she is very tired and/or cranky, and does not wish to fuss. When you are worn out and hungry, but a bit out of sorts, of course you do not want to be fixing something elaborate and demanding. You might not want to eat such a thing, even if someone else made it for you. You certainly don't want to clean up and do a million dishes after you eat. The thought of it is enough to kill your appetitie, even though it is considerable, since you haven't had any real food nearly all day, damn it. If you eat something junky because it is easy, in your delicate state, it will make you want to hurl.
Even though you do not want to fuss, the simpler routines of cooking are soothing. You can unwind while setting out a few basic ingredients, chopping a bit , boiling some water, and simmering a few aromatic goodies in a pan. A cloth napkin, a fork, and pasta decanted into a shallow, individual bowl are a righteous reward, with only one pan and bowl and fork to clean, and a pasta pot to rinse when you are done. A glass or wine, or a glass of water, depending on your mood, and you are on your way to realignment-or to bed.
I have most often served these purposes with a garlic, lemon, pepper, parmesan sort of thing, which is very nice and serviceable. This equally simple recipe is going to take over that function for a bit. It is delicious, easy, especially hunger-satisying, and restorative...I think the ginger has a lot to do with that part. Follow the advice of its creator, and do not be tempted to gussy it up, or the balance will be spoiled. You will be glad, when eat it, that you resisted the temptation to grate parmesan all over it.
Viana La Place's Hot, Sweet Spaghetti
serves 2 for main course supper
Extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsps
garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced 2
red pepper flakes 1/4tsp
peeled, finely julienned fresh ginger 2 tbsps
canned whole organic tomatoes (or home canned tomatoes) and juice 1 1/2 cups
dried imported spaghetti 1/2 lb
fresh basil leaves, chiffonade 10 leaves or so
freshly ground or pounded black pepper to taste
Put olive oil, garlic and red pepper in a heavy saute pan over a low heat. Put a pasta pot full of water on to boil. Stir oil over low heat 3 minutes. Add ginger and stir one minute. Add tomatoes, crushing with a big spoon. Add salt to taste. turn off heat, and wait for water in pasta pot to boil. Add salt and pasta to pot. Bring tomato mixture to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until pasta is done to your degree of toothsomeness. Drain pasta, and dump drained pasta into sauce. Add fresh basil and toss with tongs or 2 spoons. Divide into 2 shallow individual bowls, and serve, with fresh pepper grated over each bowl.
You can almost feel it flowing through your veins to your fingertips, purely hot and sweet.