killing time between meals

where talking about what's for dinner while you're at lunch is totally acceptable

What’s Your Go-To Dinner?


I have Ina Garten to thank for many foodie things in my life: a collection of her cookbooks that I use again and again, an appreciation for the simple truth that less honestly is more when it comes to good food, the courage to cook with new ingredients because she makes it look so easy, and (most importantly for my daily life) my favorite go-to dinner recipe—Summer Garden Pasta.

You should buy this if you don’t already have it.

We all have that one easy dish we rely on, right? This recipe from her Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook is so simple and satisfying, and the ingredients are things I keep on hand.

You remember garlic, my first love.

This stuff is the BEST. Just put it in a glass of water on your window sill and it will last for weeks.

These are delish in all kinds of dishes. Keep them around. You’ll be glad you did.

I make this pasta at least once a week, especially in summer when the tomatoes are at their finest. Click the link above to see Ina’s original recipe. My version is just slightly adapted. If you are a serious carnivore, feel free to throw some grilled chicken or salmon on top. As Ina would say, “How bad could that be?”

Summer Garden Pasta (aka Garlicky Tomato Pasta)
Adapted from Ina Garten; Makes one generous serving

½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (Adjust this to your preference—the garlic is raw, so it’s very strong. I use 3 cloves, but I am crazy like that.)
5 or so large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Kosher salt & pepper
1 serving dried long-cut pasta (I usually have whole wheat linguine, so that’s what I use. But you can use regular angel hair or whatevs you have.)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature. Ina says to let this sit for about 4 hours (at least 2 ½ hours), but sometimes I just don’t have time for that. The longer it sits, the better; however, I have thrown it all together in 20 minutes and it still tasted good to me.
  • Just before you’re ready to eat, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.
  • Drain the pasta and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Add the cheese and some extra basil, and toss well.

I may or may not have sprinkled more cheese on top after I snapped this picture.


9 thoughts on “What’s Your Go-To Dinner?

  1. Oh yeah, Ina is the best, and that is one yummy recipe…one of my go-tos, especially in the summer when tomatoes and basil are their yummiest.

  2. She actually made this recipe on her show yesterday by sauteing the tomatoes with all those ingredients, meaning no waiting for the marinating process.

  3. Pasta’s definitely my go-to meal. Well that and tacos. Well those and burgers.:)

  4. I make a similar dish that we really like, but instead of basil I use spinach (and sometimes I add 1/2 lb of crumbled sausage if I am in the mood for meat).

    I can’t say that I have an actual go-to meal since I rarely cook the same dish more than once…

  5. It’s rare that I have a repeat. Though they do happen occasionally. I read a lot of cooking blogs to find inspiration for new recipes. Mostly I would just get bored eating the same food over and over.

  6. Pingback: Zucchini with Zing | killing time between meals

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