The Yotam Ottolenghi 15-Minute Pasta I'll Be Making All Summer Long

Even a slow poke can swing this quick and easy dinner.

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Myo Quinn</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Myo Quinn

Almost 12 years into parenthood, I cook 10 times more now than at any other time of my life. (That’s saying a lot since I was once a line cook at a restaurant with hundreds of covers a night.) Gone are the days of slurping Cocoa Puffs in fancy oat milk and calling it a meal. Gone are the days of skipping dinner because I’d rather nap. These days, when five p.m. rolls around, my three offspring stare at me with puppy eyes looking for sustenance.

Game. On. Since this scenario plays out 365 days a year, I’ve become an expert at whipping up dinner. You may have seen many of my go-to’s on Simply Recipes: sesame soba noodles5-ingredient gingery ground beefmicrowave oyakodon, and more.

Recently, I’ve added a new quick and easy (two descriptors that can make any busy parent’s eyes twinkle) recipe to our family’s dinner rotation: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Za’atar Cacio e Pepe from his cookbook, Flavor.

It’s a creamy pasta that calls for pantry staples and takes 15 minutes—I promise this is possible even if you’re a slow poke. The big flavors come from butter, black pepper, Parm, and za’atar, a bright, earthy, herby, and toasty spice blend. It's a play on cacio e pepe, a classic Roman dish made with just pasta, salted water, freshly ground pepper, and Pecorino Romano.

Ottolenghi creates a silky sauce using a genius trick: cook the pasta in half the water you would typically use to concentrate it with the starch. Then, use this starchy water to emulsify (i.e. thicken and make creamy) the sauce. Try it once and you'll be whipping it up for dinner on repeat.

<p>Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn</p>

Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

How I Make Yotam Ottolenghi’s Za’atar Cacio e Pepe

For four to six servings, you’ll need:

  • 1 pound dry bucatini (preferred) or spaghetti

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (half of a stick)

  • 1 tablespoon za’atar

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano

Start by bringing 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil over high heat. Use the widest pot or braiser you own. I use this braiser, which you can also see in the image below—the pasta can fit without having to break it in half. Plus, the wider the pot, the faster the water will boil.

Add the bucatini, and cook it until al dente following package instructions. You’ll cook the pasta a little longer in the sauce, so I really mean al dente unless you like overcooked pasta. Stir occasionally so that the strands don’t stick to each other.

<p>Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn</p>

Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a high-sided pan set over medium heat. Stir in the za’atar and black pepper.

Use tongs to scoop the cooked pasta into the butter. With the heat still on, continue to stir vigorously, while adding two cups of the pasta water, 1/2 cup at a time. The sauce will thicken and become silky.

Turn off the heat. Stir in half of the grated Pecorino or Parm until fully melted, then stir in the other half.

Serve warm with more cheese and za’atar sprinkled on top.

Ottolenghi’s recipe calls for finishing the pasta with olive oil and torn marjoram leaves, but my kids have never said, “Mommy, I think this is missing a little something something… maybe olive oil?” And I can never find fresh marjoram at the store. I'm sure it would be delicious with both.

BUY THE COOKBOOKFlavor by Yotam Ottolenghi

<p>Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn</p>

Simply Recipes / Myo Quinn

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.