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a bachelor/midnight/10-minute dinner, post-theater

This is sort of an American bachelor’s dinner, or midnight pasta, and with a dash of Iberia instead of Italia. Without the need to wait for water to boil, it’s even faster than the classic Italian modes.

Another thing in its favor is that it’s open-ended; it welcomes improvisation, probably even more the pasta equivalents (if there’s time and some supples to let the imagination run).

The basic formula, from a list of 101 meals that could be prepared in 10 minutes or less, later edited up to 111, created by Mark Bittman many years ago:

40 Put a large can of chickpeas and their liquid in a medium saucepan. Add some sherry, along with olive oil, plenty of minced garlic, smoked pimentón and chopped Spanish chorizo. Heat through.  

I’ve put this simple dish on the table many times, and I blogged about it once, 4 years ago, when I said, “We’ve enjoyed it with leftover wilted kale, collards, or other greens, but I can imagine any number of other cooked vegetables working as enhancements, giving them a chance to leave the refrigerator and shine a second time.”

Last Saturday, returning home from a preview of a new production of Christopher Shinn’s ‘Dying CIty’ at 2nd Stage Theater [this quiet, transfixing tale of grief and violence” – Ben Brantley writing in 2017], not wanting to do anything the least bit complicated that night, after a long absence I returned once again to Bittman’s simple chickpea/chorizo formula.  This time, while I used 3 cloves of hard garlic, in spite of the fact that they’re not now locally in season, I did add some chopped spring garlic stems at the end, and a miscellany of herbs I had on hand that, conveniently, had already been chopped.


[the image of the composer is from his own website, Daniel Wohl]

spaghetti, oil, spring garlic, peperoncino, garlic mustard

We had been to the theater, a stunning performance of Sam Shepard’s ‘Curse of the Starving Class’, and, both stimulated and disturbed, we’d decided to head for the comfort of our home table rather than eat out (food, and eating both feature large in the play).

We didn’t arrive home until about 10:30. Dinner would have to be assembled quickly, but I wanted it to be very satisfying, so it was ‘two bachelors pasta’ to the rescue (my appellation, my improvisation, with a nod to any number of variations on ‘spaghettata di mezzanotte‘).

I put water in the pot and set it above a high flame as soon as we got into the apartment; the rest of the cooking operation was almost as easy.

  • eight or nine ounces of a one kilogram package of Setaro Neapolitan spaghetti from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market, cooked al dente, drained, some of the water reserved, mixed into one of the simplest sauces possible: 3 thinly sliced green, or spring garlic bulbs, the white sections only, from John D. Madura Farms and a bit of crushed dried Calabresi peperoncino secchia, also from Buon Italia, heated together inside a large antique copper pot until the garlic had softened, (basically, seconds), seasoned with sea salt, almost a full cup of the reserved pasta water added and the mix stirred over high heat for a couple of minutes, or until the liquid had emulsified, some garlic mustard (not garlic, but it is a mustard) flowers and leaves, from Norwich Meadows Farm, stirred in, more of the herb later tossed on top of the pasta, which was served with olive oil drizzled around the edges

prosciutto, radicchio; warmed clam sauce linguine


I thought I was going to be eating as a bachelor earlier this week, so I had expected to only have some leftover linguine with clam sauce from two nights earlier (sans the clams themselves, which had disappeared in the first round.  Then Barry IM-ed me that he would be home earlier than planned, and would join me for dinner.  Anticipating such a possibility, or the need for improvisation on some other night, I fortunately had fixings on hand for a decent first course.

  • Colameco’s prosciutto from whole Foods, drizzled with good olive oil
  • radicchio from Eataly, dressed with the same oil, a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper
  • slices of Rustica Classica from Eataly


  • leftover linguine alle Vongole in Bianco (now bereft of the clams), gently oven-heated in a cazuela, then drizzled with olive oil and dusted with fresh chopped parsley (both after this picture was shot)
  • the wine was an Italian (Südtirol) white, St. Michael Eppan Alto Adige Pinot Grigio 2013