Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

Fast, Cheap and Out of the Pantry February 17, 2010

Filed under: beans,vegetables,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 4:58 pm

western spaghetti

brittley at attention

There’s a reason why kale chips are trendy:  addictive taste!  Lumpy-leafed lacinato kale, purchased from Johnson’s Backyard Garden at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market, positively supplicated for the treatment.  Carefully rinsed and dried, soothingly smoothed with olive oil, lightly sprinkled with kosher salt and heedfully arranged in a single layer on baking sheets, the softly crinkled slips yielded to gentle roasting at low heat (275º), vacuoles dessicated to a crisp after about 20 minutes.

Frilly flatterings for what is actually a fun food!  Wispily crackling and boasting deep green flavor, the nori-esque (Hmm.  That gives me an idea!) kale chips provided a contrapuntal alternative to salad for a recent code red pantry dinner.

Which was


  • ¾ pound organic dried spaghetti.  I find Central Market’s brand to be a consistently good value.
  • 2 cloves organic domestic garlic
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons  plus 1 Tablespoon organic olive oil.  I mostly use CM’s organic olive oil for cooking.
  • pinch or so crushed red pepper, optional
  • 1 to 3 anchovies, mashed
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 28-ounce can organic diced tomatoes.  If you didn’t stock up on Muir Glen during recent sales, Whole Foods 365 brand and CM’s brand sell for reasonable prices.
  • ½ teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt.
  • ½ bay leaf. You can find bay leaf plants at our local nurseries and farmers markets.  This bush is easy.  Get growin’!
  • ¼ teaspoon turbinado sugar.  I buy this in bulk at CM.  Remember to bring your own container and have the staff tare the weight.
  • 25-ounce can of organic beans, well drained.  I used kidney beans this time around.  Cannellini and great northerns also work well.  By the way, I don’t bother to rinse canned beans before cooking further and neither does Jacques Pépin.
  • generous teaspoon dried basil

Get a pot of salted water going for the pasta.  Some folks agonize and debate over when to add the salt.  I put the salt in right away and then I don’t have to remember it later.

Combine the garlic and 2 teaspoons water.  Heat up the 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a 3 -quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and stir until fragrant.  Add the anchovies and smash around for a few seconds.  Stir in the oregano and then dump in the tomatoes.  Add the salt and bay leaf and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes, until thickened some.

Remove the bay leaf.  Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce into a coarse puree.  Add the sugar and beans and simmer a little while the pasta finishes up.  (Oh yeah.  When the pasta water comes to a boil, go ahead and add the spaghetti.  Let the pasta cook while you work on the sauce.  You probably know how to cook your noodles already.)

Finish the sauce with the basil and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  I like to embellish with my better oil—the still reasonably priced organic Villa Blanca from Spain.  I buy it at Central Market for $9.49 for a 17-ounce bottle.  Correct the salt if necessary.  Mix together your (cooked and drained) spaghetti and sauce, adding a little pasta cooking water if you wish to thin the sauce some.

Serve hot with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and freshly cracked black pepper.


2 Responses to “Fast, Cheap and Out of the Pantry”

  1. Kale chips! Those two words sound like they couldn’t possibly go together. But I believe you that they are delicious!

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