Fusilli with Anchovies and Baby Asparagus

For someone who loves the rain ad infinitum, you can bet your last peso that I’ve been making the most of the past few nights’ cool weather just reading and writing. The downside is that I get up very late in the morning. Yesterday, I woke up at eleven o’clock. After my coffee and bathroom rituals, I had about 30 minutes to prepare lunch.

No time to thaw anything from the freezer so I checked the pantry instead wondering if I could make a quick pasta dish. Fusilli: check. Anchovies: check. Canned diced tomatoes: check. There was no shortage of onions and garlic. Oregano and basil grow in the garden. And in the fridge two bunches of baby asparagus.

While the pasta cooks, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped onion and cook over medium heat until softened about two minutes. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring, for another minute. Pour in the diced tomatoes. Add the oregano. Bring to the boil. Pour in the red wine. Cook over high heat, uncovered, until slightly reduced, about four minutes. Add the anchovies with the oil, stirring to break up the fillets. Season with salt, pepper, and a little sugar. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pasta is done, adding the asparagus during the last two minutes of cooking. Take about 1/4 c. of water from the pasta and pour it into the sauce (the starch will help thicken the sauce a bit). Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss to coat each piece of pasta with sauce.

Salmon and pesto spaghetti

When my younger daughter announced earlier today that she wanted to go on a pasta and pesto diet for the rest of the summer, I decided to humor her. Why not? That’s less work for me and there are so many variations of pasta with pesto that I’ve been dying to try anyway. I’ve made pasta and pesto with smoked salmon, pasta and pesto with bacon, and plain pasta and pesto with no meat or fish. I’ve been meaning to try another no-meat-nor-fish version by throwing in some barely cooked asparagus but that’s something for another day.

What I had was a small piece of salmon and that was what I used. I made the pesto from scratch in less than 10 minutes while boiling the pasta. Preparation was fast and easy, labels I prefer during the summer when no one wants to stay in front of a hot stove longer than necessary. If you have 15 minutes to make dinner but you don’t want to shortchange your family by opening a can.