15 minute meals: simple italian pasta

15 minute meals: simple italian pasta | theclevercarrot.com

Ever wonder what’s going on at the bottom of your fridge drawer?

You know, where the flimsy carrots and celery hang out?

Mine is a mess. Always. And for some reason I think it’s OK to keep jamming stuff in there until the drawer dislodges from the hinge (those things are junk anyway). Then, on the rare occasion that I’m feeling particularly inspired, I clean said drawer.

Oh look… ginger! A sweet potato! A cheese stick! Mold!

It should have its own zip code.

fresh fettuccine pasta | theclevercarrot.com

Lucky for you, none of those things are in this recipe.

I did however, find some parsley lurking about.

Unlike cilantro, basil and other delicate herbs, parsley is a little more hearty. And when stored properly it will last about 1-2 weeks. I usually score a huge bunch for about $.99 year round. That’s way cheaper than those little plastic packs of herbs. In the spring and summer, I look forward to growing my own herbs (and so do the rabbits).

Storage Options:

  1. ‘bouquet style’ in a jar with water
  2. wrapped in a damp paper towel in a ziploc bag

Both methods work. It just depends on how much room is in your fridge and where you want to put it.

But what I’m really trying to get at is this:

Parsley is so underrated!

Don’t you agree?

It’s not just a garnish! Poor thing- only used as a finishing touch to impart that ‘obligatory’ pop of green.

But when featured as an ingredient it tastes fantastic.

So, after rummaging through the fridge like a gopher, I made this simple dinner.

The inspiration comes from the traditional Italian dish, Aglio e Olio. It’s a basic pasta made with olive oil, lots of garlic, parsley and anchovies (oh, stop… you love anchovies). I didn’t have any so you’re in luck this time.

For the pasta, I chose fresh fettuccine. Every ingredient counts when making simple meals, so think quality. That’s not to say I’m against dried pasta. But fresh pasta is special. So special in fact, having it mid-week seems luxurious. It’s usually a restaurant thing for me. It cooks in about 3 minutes too! I had just enough time to run upstairs and change into my comfy pants before digging in.

And finally, to finish: artisan salami. It was buried underneath the parsley. I found one of those logs originally destined for a cheese plate, but instead, I sliced and scattered some over the top for a touch of salty flavor. If I had to do it again, I would use a good-quality deli salami. Sliced paper thin. It’s more complimentary to the thickness of the pasta.

And of course, you could easily swap the salami for pancetta or bacon too.

Super simple. That’s how I like to eat.

15 minute meals: simple italian pasta | theclevercarrot.com

What do you like to cook during the week?

15 minute meals: simple italian pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 12-16 oz. fresh fettuccine pasta
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup thin sliced salami, deli style
  • salt + pepper
  • parmesan cheese, to taste
* Kitchen Notes: Substitute with pancetta or bacon if not using salami. Give it a quick sauté, about 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden. And the olive oil and garlic, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch salt and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Reserve a small mug of pasta water before you drain it; you'll use it for the sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds - 1 minute or so. You're looking for the garlic to be soft and tender, not brown. It will taste bitter. Remove from the heat.
  3. At this point, your pasta should be perfectly aldente. Go ahead and add it to the warm olive oil and garlic. If your skillet is too small to accommodate the pasta add the everything back to the empty pasta pot. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water. The key here is to keep mixing until the sauce becomes slightly thickened. Add more olive oil if necessary.
  4. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  5. To serve, sprinkle the salami over each portion. Add parmesan cheese to taste.

15 minute meals: simple italian pasta


  1. says

    So… now I have dinner for tonight! We have the already diced Pancetta in said drawer in fridge, and I’ll pick up some fresh pasta. Thank you !
    P.S. My blog is down indefinitely due to terrible server issues…so don’t try going over there right now!

    • Emilie says

      Welcome Libby! Oh yes, pancetta would be perfect in this. You just reminded me- I keep a stash of pancetta in our freezer but when we came back from vacation, we learned that our power switched off (darn winter storms) and melted everything! The pancetta was so sad looking. I remember looking at it thinking, ugh what a loss! It’s so nice to have some on hand to quickly add to meals. I hope you enjoy your dinner!

      I’ll have a peek at your blog when it’s up an running. I know that feeling of unpredictable server issues :)

    • Emilie says

      That sounds like the name of a tv show, lol. I also could eat pasta every night with anchovies, especially those little white ones. They have a delicious caesar salad at the restaurant right now (with ricotta salata!) and white anchovies… heaven!

    • Emilie says

      Hello Tori! Me too! I really enjoy simple Italian food with thoughtful ingredients. I like to taste each and every one- not too much sauce for me ;)

    • Emilie says

      I absolutely adore fresh pasta. We sometimes make it fresh as home but it’s usually a two- man operation. I hold the sheets while my husband cranks that little machine. I like to make enough to freeze. So good. And yes, maybe I’ll share the recipe with anchovies. It seems like we have a couple of fans ;)

  2. Melissa says

    This reminds me of a dish of zucchini stuffed with chopped salumi, bread crumbs, bechamel, and cheese that I had last summer in Emilia Romagna where nothing is wasted. So deliciously, deceptively simple!

    • Emilie says

      It’s 9:15 am and I’m drooling. ..That’s sounds absolutely delicious! I will think of this when zucchini season rolls around for sure. It’s those simple dishes, where new creations are made out of virtually nothing that always seem to be the most delicious, right? I think so. Thanks for sharing this! :)

  3. says

    Fettuccine is my kind of comfort food… well, pasta in general, but I have a strong affinity for fettuccine. The simplicity of your recipe is perfect for my tastes, especially when I’ll need something quick. The olive oil and garlic is so classic and always crave worthy. I agree, parsley is way underrated. I almost always have a bunch in my fridge and it’s staying power is quite impressive, yes. Added to this pasta, with other such simple ingredients, lets the lowly parsley shine. I love the freshness it adds to any dish and it should never, ever be used just as a garnish! We need to support parsley more!

    There’s always an adventure in cleaning out veggie drawers. I inevitably find a tiny nob of ginger that’s covered in mold… long forgotten because it got stuck under the bag of carrots.

    Welcome back Emilie! I missed you! I hope your trip with restful and adventures. Can’t wait to hear about it!

    PS: I pulled my first sourdough in two years out of the oven last week. Oooooh the excitement, the aroma, the flavor!! I did a country multigran and pushed the hydration because, well, I love the crumb! Thank you for your inspiration!!!

    • Emilie says

      Me too! I think there’s something extra special about its shape… I’m not a picky eater at all but I’m very particular about my pasta. The shape and texture always takes center stage and the rest of the ingredients follow. It’s such shame to see so many recipes ‘swimming’ in sauce, don’t you agree?

      And Traci, I’m SO excited to hear about your sourdough adventures! This is wonderful!!! I’m a fan of high hydration doughs as well- I hear ya sista! All about that crumb. xoxo

  4. says

    This is a perfect example of how easy cooking can be. It’s a simple and delicious meal that anyone is capable of making on any busy day. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Emilie says

      Thank you so very much :) I really do like to cook (and eat!) simple food. There’s always possibilities in an empty pantry or messy fridge drawer. Have a wonderful Sunday, Mimi! xo

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