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The lemon butter pasta recipe I make all the time

Image: Julia Gartland /  Food52

Image: Julia Gartland / Food52

I tend to roll my eyes at recipes that claim you can make them with “pantry staples,” a phrase that feels very similar to “day to night look!” in that it’s something that’s mentioned a lot in magazines that never *really* happens IRL. Like, you don’t know my pantry OR my life, Bon Appètit!

That said, this lemon butter pasta recipe is the closest thing I’ve found to being a recipe that you can make with pantry staples — if you stock your pantry with the things you need to make it, which is what I do now because I like the recipe so much. Though literally nothing about it is French, I sort of think of it as the ~French girl~ version of boxed mac and cheese.

The ingredients list is very short: angel hair pasta, butter, chicken broth, a lemon, and salt and pepper. (I don’t consider lemon a pantry staple because lemons can go bad, but I now just buy a few lemons every week.) You can add Parmesan cheese or some fresh or dried herbs if you have them, but you honestly don’t need any of that. You can also easily double the recipe to serve two people, though I appreciate that it’s a dish for one because those are kind of rare.

Bonus tips: I always use Better Than Bouillon when a recipe calls for broth because my former coworker Erin told me that they did a big broth taste test at Good Housekeeping (where she used to work) and BTB was the winner by a mile. I also find it more convenient and more eco-friendly than canned/boxed broth and the individually wrapped cubes. And instead of using regular salt to finish off this recipe, I use Maldon sea salt, which I’m a big fan of, and which is definitely a pantry staple of mine.

Anyway, it’s rare to find a dish that comes together in less than 20 minutes, tastes delicious, and looks/feels elevated. It’s also pretty rich (thanks to the butter), so it ends up being way more filling than I expect. And the cleanup is minimal, which is important! On nights when I don’t have it in me to fuck with chickpea pasta, this is what I make.

Get the recipe: Sue Kreitzman’s Lemon Butter Angel Hair Pasta, Food 52. 👩🏽‍🍳

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This homemade hummus is truly the best hummus

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Last month, my mom texted me from the grocery store a few days before she drove out to visit me in New York. She sent me a photo of a package of mini naan “dippers” with the message, “Are you going to make hummus while we are there? I can bring some of these.” I replied, “I probably will not make hummus, but maybe I could.” An hour later, after some other unrelated conversation, she texted me, “I bought those little breads so you really should make hummus.”

And really, how could I argue with that?

The hummus she was talking about was developed by chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia. I’ve made it a few times now — including when my mom visited me in early January.

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It is completely reasonable that my mom has developed a taste for this hummus after having it once. This hummus is...incredible. As my former coworker Michelle wrote about it, “If you have the energy to learn how to prepare just one food over the course of your lifetime, let it be this one.” It’s so creamy, so flavorful, so...special. I love it on bread, but also on perfect chicken and roasted vegetables.


A couple recipe notes:

  • The hummus isn’t at all hard to make, but I think it’s kind of an Event. I think it’s just because it has kind of a lot of steps (the first of which starts the night before you actually make it), and also because I have a small New York kitchen. In any case, it’s absolutely worth it.

  • I’ve made the hummus with both dried chickpeas and canned chickpeas. The dried chickpeas are definitely better (the final effect is just creamier) but using canned beans won’t ruin it. Basically, if you forgot to soak the beans and now think you can’t make it, go ahead and use canned; they are definitely good enough.

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  • I’ve been using my KitchenAid stand mixer with the whisk attachment to make the tehina sauce and that works very well. The second time I made it, I inexplicably temporarily lost my mind and made the tehina in my food processor....which WORKED, but it required a lot more dishes and everything just got really messy. It wasn’t until later that I realized I hadn’t done that the first time — which why it was a much pleasanter/easier experience the first time! (You can also whisk it by hand, of course.)

  • When I made it last month, I used the extra tehina sauce that I’d frozen the last time around and it worked perfectly! (I let it thaw for about 24 hours first.) The tehina sauce recipe makes twice the amount you need, and it’s definitely worth saving/freezing it to use later; it cuts down on the amount of time and energy you’ll spend the second time in a pretty meaningful way.

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Extremely good shit: this chickpea pasta recipe

Much like I believe in wearing the same clothes all the time, I am big on figuring out a few recipes that work for me and making them over and over and over again. This chickpea pasta recipe is one such recipe. It’s filling, it’s nourishing, it’s inexpensive (seriously, my grocery bill dropped considerably after I started making this several nights a week), it’s fast/easy, it warms up well the next day, it’s vegetarian and dairy-free (if you’re into that sort of thing), and you can basically always have the ingredients available to be able to make it. (More on that in a moment.) I’ve recommended it to so many people, and they’re all believers now.

If/when you’re ready to join the Cult of CPP, here are some tips I’ve found for making it even easier to make.

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  • Don't skip the finishing oil; that's where all the flavor is!

  • Cut/measure/prep all the ingredients before you start cooking. There aren’t very many ingredients, so it’s mostly a matter of doing things like opening a can of chickpeas, draining, and rinsing them; crushing a couple of garlic cloves; and measuring out pasta and tomato paste. The reason I suggest doing this is because once you start making it, everything moves very fast, and you won't really have time to do those things while the food is cooking like you might with other recipes.

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  • Instead of chopping fresh rosemary for the finishing oil every time you make it, you can chop a bunch of rosemary at once and then freeze it in individual portions olive oil cubes. I freeze the teaspoon of fresh rosemary in 1 and ½ tablespoons of olive oil — because that’s what my ice cube trays can hold — and then add the additional ½ tablespoon of olive oil when I’m making the recipe. I pop out a cube when I start making the recipe, and by the time I’m ready to make the finishing oil, it’s basically thawed. Using the rosemary cubes is so convenient and it means that I’m both less likely to waste extra rosemary and more likely to have the ingredients I need on hand all the time.

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  • You can actually freeze the tomato paste in individual servings too. (In general, freezing extra tomato paste is a good move because so rarely do you need the entire can!) It’s not like opening a can of tomato paste, measuring some out, washing the tablespoon, and rinsing the can/peeling off the label for the recycling bin is oppressive or anything...but it’s also a step I’d rather not fuck with every time if I don’t have to.

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  • If you’re feeling really motivated and meal-preppy, you could transfer the pasta to a Mason jar with measurement marks on the side so you don’t have to pour it into a measuring cup each time you’re making it.

This recipe is truly so great; it’s right up there with the perfect chicken in terms of how much I love it and how often I recommend it.

Get the recipe: Quick pasta and chickpeas, Smitten Kitchen. 🍝

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