The 1.21 Gigowatt Weeknight Meal [by Katy]

[For three weeks, Josh & Katy blogsit]

Every major study out there shows that Americans are always, ALWAYS pressed for time. There is never enough. Time, time, time is not on our side. No it’s not.

Of course, who can overlook the irony of someone who watches a soap opera everyday writing this to a bunch of people reading a food blog? I mean, clearly we have SOME time on our hands. Right guys?

All the same, all too many of you probably recognize this scenario: You walk in the door to your residence. It’s late; you’ve had a hard day working or studying or whatever it is you do besides reading blogs.

“What should we have for dinner?” you ask your partner, roommate or self. You are weary. You are cranky. You are hungry.

If you’re anything like Josh and me, you know that this is an excellent time to start getting snippy. No, I don’t CARE what we eat! No, I don’t FEEL like ordering Thai again! Stop trying to bite my ELBOW, sweetie!

What should you do? What is the answer?

Easy: you need to BUILD A TIME MACHINE OUT OF A DELOREAN. Set the car’s dials to four hours earlier, get it up to 88 miles per hour, and jet back to earlier that afternoon. Set a nice stew simmering in your CrockPot. By the time your other self comes home that day, it will be done! Yum!

What you will need for this project: Delorean, enough plutonium to generate 1.21 gigowatts of electricity, orange jump suit, CrockPot.


Well then, you can turn to one of my favorite weeknight meal options: ORECCHIETTE WITH CANNELLINI AND BROCCOLI.

Let’s give the proper credit here, considering what the Amateur Gourmet does for his day job: I copied this one on to a recipe card out of March 2003 Bon Appetit, in the “Healthy Eating” section.

This is not a meal to make, like, for your snooty dinner party, okay? It is simple, healthy and fast. Cheaper than ordering out, and a far better option than some crappy marinara sauce from jar. (Indeed, this mediocre overpriced marinara sauce from a jar thing is one of my biggest culinary pet peeves. Why pay so much for something so easy to make yourself? But we’ll leave that for a different time.)

Step One.Go pick some basil out of your herb garden.

Okay, you don’t have to have an herb garden. You can use store-bought basil if you MUST. Just between us, if you’re in a tight spot you can use dried basil. But we’ll get to that in a few minutes.

Step Two. Heat up two tablespoons of olive oil on a skillet. Add one cup of diced onions, and sauté them over medium heat until they are nice and soft, maybe three minutes. Add four minced cloves of garlic and a teaspoon or so of crushed red pepper. Cook this for a minute or so.


Step Three. Add two cans of canned tomatoes with their juices.

Now see — that was easy, wasn’t it? You thought I’d make you cut up a bunch of fresh tomatoes — which you could do, of course — but this is supposed to be a quick and easy meal. So relax! Open those cans!

Add 1/4 cup water to the tomatoes. Let the whole thing come to a boil, and then simmer it over low heat uncovered until the sauce thickens, like ten minutes.

Step Four. In the mean time, cook half a bag of orecchiette (eight ounces) in boiling salted water. You remember which kind of pasta orecchiette is, right? Here’s a hint: it means “little ear” in Italian. Although they look more like little shallow bowls, or a form of birth control that will remain unnamed on this family site:


When the pasta is almost done, add a pound of broccoli florets to the water.


After about two minutes, drain that whole pot. The broccoli should be bright green and slightly tender.

Step Five. Add the basil and a drained can of cannellini (white kidney beans) to the tomato sauce.


Ta-da! You’re done.

Top that with some grated parmesan cheese, and you have a very tasty meal:


And don’t worry. As long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook at precisely eighty-eight miles per hour the instant the lightning strikes the tower… everything will be fine. See?



2 thoughts on “The 1.21 Gigowatt Weeknight Meal [by Katy]”

  1. I make a very similar recipe (from Cooking Light magazine), only instead of broccoli you do spinach (added to the sauce at the last minute until it’s wilted), and sprinkle feta cheese on top. It’s called something like “Greek Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes.” I also like to add some olives, either canned sliced black olives, or if I have them, a few kalamata olives. (And when do I not have kalamata olives?) (As if!)

    Also easy, healthy, and delicious. Perfect for when you have spinach but not broccoli!

  2. AWESOME pic of Dr. Emmett Brown! :D This recipe looks tasty — tasty enough for me to get over my longtime loathing of green vegetables in red sauce, whether it’s broccoli, spinach, even green peppers, ewwwwww, blech. By gum, the Amateur Gourmet is helping me mature! :P

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