My Sacred Quest for the One Bowl Meal

Recipe: Holy Grail Pasta Vite Vite Vite

I am on a quest.

Having realized my goal of locating several pleasingly dry, sparkling wines under $20 (Gruet and virtually anything with a Crément de appellation, among others), I need a new goal, but not just any goal. No search for a suitably stinging riposte to French taunting, or source for perfectly ripe avocados every time, not even a low carb cookie that tastes like it was made from something other than the mixing bowl dregs of a Costco “bakery” will do. Nothing as mundane as that.  I need a mountain to climb, a fortress to take, a fountain of youth to discover and turn into an early retirement account. And I think I’ve found one.

Tricolor bow ties — festive, no?
Photo property of WS Winslow

What I’m searching for is a small collection of nutritionally complete, tasty one-bowl meals that can be prepared and served in 20 minutes or less, in one pot, then cleaned up in five minutes. The recipe doesn’t have to be elaborate, or exotic, just pleasing to the palate, easy on the waistline and unlikely to induce vomiting.

What’s that you say? It can’t be done? Faugh! That is correct, I said faugh, with an outrageous accent no less. I made my first run at it tonight and though the timing came in at just over 23 minutes from fridge to plate, if I limit pre-dinner cocktails to three next time and use fresh pasta instead of dried, I’m quite sure I can get it done in under 20. With Mr. Slattern (no English bedwetting type, he) helming the clean up, not only was the entire meal cleaned up in five minutes, but it also got done the same night it was served. It’s like a miracle!

So without further ado, here it is:

Holy Grail Pasta Vite Vite Vite
(Makes enough for four or five adult meals — twelve if you’re feeding Giada or a chihuahua)

You’ll need:*

  • 1 box pasta or noodles (the finer the noodle the quicker it’ll cook — fresh is best, but dry will do)
  • Cup or two of frozen cooked shrimp (small ones, not big jumbo monsters)
  • Cup or two broccoli florets (if you can source them already cut up, good on you)
  • Cup or two of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half (or leave ’em whole if you’re not particular)
  • 2 cloves garlic, squeezed through a garlic press  (if you don’t have one, you should)
  • Couple tablespoons of butter
  • Olive oil
  • Ground pepper
  • Parmesan cheese if you like. If you’ve got some fresh basil hanging around, throw that in, too

*All quantities approximate owing to a slightly too free hand with the Insolia before dinner prep

Here’s what you do:

  1. Dump the frozen shrimp into a big colander in the sink
  2. Bring a big pot of water to the boil
  3. Add broccoli and cook until a little less tender than you like (they’ll continue cooking while they sit around)
  4. When they’re done, use a slotted spoon or sieve to remove them from the water and throw them on top of the shrimp
  5. Add the pasta to the same pot of boiling water and cook until it’s the texture you want (I hate al dente pasta, but you’ll do as you like)
  6. Now, take the pot of pasta and drain it directly over the shrimps and broccoli in the colander
  7. Dump the whole mix back into the pot and shake it around to combine
  8. Add the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and butter (salt and pepper as you like, basil if you’ve got it) and mix it all up. By this point the heat from the pasta water will have defrosted and warmed the little shrimps (genius!)
  9. Serve in big bowls and sprinkle with cheese as/if needed.

Clean up’s a breeze. At least that’s the way it looked from under the table.
Photo property WS Winslow

About WSW

Writer, wife, mother. Toiler in the bottomless, black, soul-sucking coal mine of domestic life. Thank God for the portable bar.

Posted on July 2, 2012, in One bowl meals, The easy way and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Does this list of pleasing sparklers include a prosecco or cava?

  2. Sounds great. I’d lose the shrimp, and substitute some rotisserre chicken. Your recipe is great but I hate shrimp.

  3. liberally spread olive paste on the bottom of your family style pasta bowl, add a glug of balsamic and olive oil, add bite sized pieces of tomato, mozzarella, and torn basil leaves. mix well. pour in cooked radiatore pasta. season with sea salt and ground pepper. toss ‘n serve.

  4. du fromage avec des crevettes, ouah non-non-non, quelle hérésie!

  5. Wilt spinach in a saute with a lid,add can of sliced mushrooms.add eggs, spot of milk, salt, white pepper. Scramble or in french terms saute, throw in some grape or diced tomatoes, plate and top with greek yogurt and parm. Done in 5 minutes or under. Clean up takes about just as long. That is my go to 5 minute dinner.

    • Very close to my own version of eggs and spinach which often involves feta cheese (making it a la grecque in Paris). A gift from God in any form. Thanks!

  1. Pingback: Poison for breakfast, lunch and dinner anyone? « The Kitchen Slattern Speaks

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