If you've ever lived alone, you know about the uphill battle of convincing yourself to make and eat something other than cheese and crackers for dinner. Actually, "cheese and crackers" is a pretty PG description of solo dinners. NPR did this story years ago with Deborah Madison about what we eat when we're alone and I think of it every single time I'm eating something like, say, a soft serve flavored KitKat topped with a schmear of miso paste. I'm so incredibly nosy about this kind of thing, so please admit to me what y'all eat when you're behind the veil of solitude in the comments. I'LL TELL YOU MINE IF YOU TELL ME YOURS.
For now I'm going to tell ya about what I eat on nights when I muster up the motivation to make something dignified, even though it's still cheap and fast and faux fancy.
I hesitate to even call this a recipe because it works with so many different variations. Any shape of short pasta will do, as will any white bean and most vegetables. Don't feel limited to lemon zest either- a small spoonful of dijon mustard is nice in its place and so is a large spoonful of sweet roasted garlic. I haven't tried lemon zest, mustard, and garlic all together, but I'd be willing to bet that's tasty too. As long as there's an egg yolk, 1/2 cup of well-salted starchy water, and an ounce and a half of finely grated dry cheese, you're good. The "recipe" serves two because my breakfasts aren't much more dignified than my dinners and I have a soft spot for eating cold leftovers first thing in the morning.
Lazy Lady Pasta
2 cups rigatoni
1 small bunch rapini
1 large egg yolk at room temp
1t raw honey
zest of one lemon (about a heaping teaspoon)
salt and olive oil
1 cup (1.5 ounces) freshly grated pecorino, plus more for serving
1/3 cup cooked chickpeas or white beans (optional)
pepper and an herb-y garnish such as chive blossoms
1. Preheat the oven to 450 and bring a medium pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
2. Roughly chop rapini, then blanch it in the water for 2 minutes. Pull it out with a slotted spoon and dry well.
3. Toss dried rapini with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Throw it in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until the flowers and leaves are crispy.
4. Meanwhile, cook rigatoni al dente and toward the end, reserve 1/2 cup starchy cooking water.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk, honey, lemon zest and cheese. Slowly stream in pasta water as you keep stirring. Pour mixture into the same pot you used for cooking the pasta over medium low heat.
6. Add the pasta back into the pot along with the beans and use a rubber spatula to stir everything around until the sauce looks thick and glossy. Quickly toss with rapini and serve immediately with extra cheese, pepper and herbs.