Whenever people ask me about cooking, I also ask if they happen to cook themselves. Many times, people say they would love to, but simply don’t have the time. I perfectly understand the situation.
While there are days when I go all the way with cooking — days when I have the time to de-stress and make Boeuf Bourgignon or Osso Buco from scratch — there are days when I do prefer quick meals. These quick meals may mean minimal cooking or simply putting something in the microwave.
But with the many delicious, instant ingredients out there, there actually is time to make a good dish.
For me, nothing is quicker or easier than pasta. You can always make pasta sauce from scratch, but when time is scarce, store-bought pasta sauce works just fine. And if you choose your sauce well, then you can have a great meal in 15 minutes or less. Just like this meal, a 15-minute pasta meal.
There are many sauces available out there. There’s always pesto. Nowadays, you can also get store-bought puttanesca or even carbonara. And there are many other tomato-based sauces out there.
My personal favorite is made by Bravo, an Italian restaurant in Manila. While the restaurant sells it more as a dip than as a sauce (it’s great with crostini), I find that it works perfectly with pasta. It’s sold at the restaurant itself, and is also available at many supermarkets in the metro.
Instead of bringing out a pot (and washing it later) and waiting for water to boil, I cook the pasta using the microwave, which is a formula I have been using for more than five years.
While the noodles are cooking in the microwave, I make the sauce. You’ll be able to finish this as the noodles are cooking. For this recipe, I simply sauteed in olive oil and butter these ingredients: chopped canned chorizo, garlic, and shrimp. Add the shrimp last to avoid overcooking it. Of course, don’t forget the pepper. I don’t put salt anymore, as this would come from from the chorizo and the sauce itself. By the way, I used frozen shrimp, and the butter removes its fishy taste.
Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sauce, and sauté for another minute. Add the noodles, top with parmesan cheese, and that’s it — a great pasta in 15 minutes or less.
If available, you can top the dish with chopped parsley or basil.
No-Stove Pasta Option: Actually, you can even do this dish without using the stove at all. Instead of using the stove, you can make this dish by using just the pre-cooked ingredients. This means that you will just need to omit the shrimps (unless you have pre-cooked shrimp available). While the noodles are cooking, you can put the chorizo in a bowl (chorizo in can is already cooked). Add the cooked noodles. Add the sauce, pepper, and cheese next. The sauce already has garlic, so there’s really no need to add it. But if you want to maximize the garlic flavor, you can add toasted garlic chips, which are also widely available at supermarkets. And to get it fully-cooked, you could cook it in the microwave for an extra minute.