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Jamie Oliver's New Book Celebrates Simplicity
'One: Simple One-Pan Wonders' is a cookbook for real people
Recently, I decided to overhaul my closet and book collection. It was then that I realized that nearly all of my cookbooks were aspirational and impractical. I mean, I love to dream about hosting dinner parties where I present a beautiful beef wellington to my guests, but that’s never going to happen.
My reality is that most days it’s just me and the dogs. And, while I do cook nearly every evening, I’m usually making vegetables, fish, or pasta in the Only Pan I purchased last year and am still obsessed with (read my review of this kitchen miracle here).
I received a review copy of Jamie Oliver’s book in the mail, unsolicited, and was immediately impressed. Did Jamie Oliver, a chef known for helping revamp England’s school food system, also know that there are millions of people who simply want to create good, simple food at home?
The recipes in One: Simple One Pan Wonders ($35) use ingredients that we probably readily have in our apartments (or can easily get in the grocery store). The dishes have prep times in minutes, instead of hours. And — gloriously — they’re meant to be cooked and consumed by real people.
The pasta section is my favorite for many reasons. First of all, all the pasta dishes are created for one person. The recipes also call for fresh lasagna sheets so there’s no boiling of pasta — you simply add all the ingredients into your pan. I tried the balsamic pepper pasta recipe — mainly because I had all the ingredients (including a jar of roasted peppers that I received in a holiday gift basket). The result was impressive.
In short, One is not a book to add to your bookcase. It’s that rare cookbook that’s meant to live in your kitchen and become stained with sauce and juices.
Whip up the balsamic pepper pasta for dinner tonight (reprinted courtesy of Jamie Oliver) and you’ll want to try all the other recipes in the book.
BALSAMIC PEPPER PASTA
Serves 1, takes 15 minutes to make
4 1⁄2 oz fresh lasagne sheets
1 clove of garlic
1⁄2 a fresh red chili
1 sprig of basil
2 large jarred roasted red peppers
1⁄3 oz Parmesan cheese
3⁄4 cup passata (strained tomatoes)
Thick balsamic vinegar
Boil the kettle. Cut the lasagne sheets lengthways into 1⁄2-inch strips to make tagliatelle. Peel the garlic, then finely slice with the chili and basil stalk, reserving the leaves. Drain the peppers and slice them the same size as the pasta. Finely grate the Parmesan. Put an 11-inch frying pan on high heat.
Once hot, put a little drizzle of olive oil into the pan with the garlic, chili, and basil stalk.
When the garlic is lightly golden, stir in the peppers for 1 minute, followed by the passata.
Scatter the pasta into the pan, then carefully pour in enough boiling kettle water to just cover the pasta – about 1 1⁄4 cups. Let it bubble away for 4 minutes, or until the pasta has absorbed most of the water and you’ve got a nice rich sauce, stirring regularly and loosening with an extra splash of water, if needed.
Turn the heat off, tear in the basil leaves, stir in the Parmesan and a good drizzle of balsamic, then season to perfection. Finish with a kiss of extra virgin olive oil, if you like.