New Tricks for an Old Favorite: Spaghetti

We eat spaghetti probably at least one time per week. And let me tell you, no matter how good your marinara is, it’s bound to get old. But you can throw together a tasty, versatile spaghetti dinner in 15 minutes with ingredients you likely have on hand and have something completely different each time you prepare it. What’s the secret? A basic butter sauce. It’s simple really—melt one stick of butter in a saucepan (I use the one I cooked the spaghetti in so I don’t have to dirty a second one) and sauté one diced shallot and 4 diced cloves of garlic in it. Add a couple of tablespoons of parsley, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a tablespoon of lemon juice. With the lemon juice, you’re not necessarily looking for lemon flavor (though if that’s what you’re going for, add more) you’re adding it because it’s acidic and will thus “brighten” the flavor of the dish. It’s really what keeps it from tasting bland, so try not to omit it. Salt and pepper it to taste. Put your cooked spaghetti in a big serving dish and pour the butter sauce on top. Toss lightly to coat the spaghetti evenly.   Now, you can serve the above as-is. I think it tastes great, and it’s a fantastic light meal that’s quick to prepare. But the great thing is the fact that you can add to it (this sauce is the Lego of sauces—you can just keep adding on). Some excellent additions might be sun-dried tomatoes, capers, roasted red peppers, real/soy cheese or mushrooms. Or, you can even get a little more involved and add bacon with kale or broccoli rabe, grilled veggies, anchovies with olives, sautéed shrimp or anything else you think sounds good. You really can’t go wrong. You might also try switching the lemon juice with specialty vinegars, like a nice aged balsamic.  No matter how you prepare it, as long as this dish is in your basic repertoire, you can make a great meal in no time that will work for any occasion or night of the week.  

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