If you’re like me, chances are it’s 15 minutes until dinner and you are scouring the Internet hoping to find inspiration. And like me, your probably getting distracted with things like Pinterest, Twitter, and three little children who are on the verge of a complete and total breakdown caused by hanger (pronounced: hane-ger – It’s what happens when you mix hunger with anger and it’s a common occurrence around here, although not just relegated to the children).


Stop your surfing and cook with me, dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes.

First things first. You’ll need spaghetti, peanut butter (or sesame paste – Tahini – if you have it), soy sauce, rice wine (or a dry white will do), rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and shallot if you have it.

Put a large pot of water over the stove and crank up the heat. Make the water taste of the sea. Seriously, taste it.

While the water is working on a boil add 4 cloves of garlic and a bit of shallot to a food processor. Pulse until well chopped. To this add 3 tbl peanut butter (or Tahini), ⅓ cup soy sauce, 2 tbl rice wine, 1 ½ tbl rice wine vinegar, and 1 ½ tbl sesame oil. Blend this all together.


As soon as your water is boiling add enough spaghetti to feed four.

Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain then stir in the sauce.

Dinner is ready.


If you have carrots, use a vegetable peeler to create fancy carrot ribbons. I tossed my ribbons with a splash or rice wine vinegar and toasted sesame seeds. I also happened to have a few sad looking scallions so I added those as well. Bean sprouts would also be a nice addition as would steamed or roasted broccoli or napa cabbage perhaps. So many choices.

Fifteen minutes and we’ve created a dinner that is sweet, salty with a bit of a bright bite. Serve the kids first then top your portion with a touch of Sriracha(or your favorite hot sauce).

While there is little I love more than to spend hours on one meal, taking care to plan through every detail. Setting the table to a multi-coursed meal that concludes with something sweet and most likely chocolatey. The truth is more often than not dinner goes from in my head to on the table in under thirty minutes. But that doesn’t mean our dinners have to suffer from my lack of planning. We eat well, if just happens quickly.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Quick Garlicky Pasta

inspired by Nigel Slater, Real Fast Food

3 Tbl peanut butter (or Tahini)

⅓ cup soy sauce

2 Tbl rice wine (or dry white wine)

1 Tbl rice wine vinegar

1 ½ Tbl Sesame oil

4 garlic cloves

1 Tbl chopped shallot

Combine the garlic and shallot in the bowl of a food processor. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then stir in the remaining ingredients. Process until well blended.

Toss this sauce with enough pasta for four.

Top with sesame seeds, carrot, bean sprouts, or whatever strikes your fancy.


60 Responses to “Dinner in 15”

  1. la domestique

    It’s ironic that those of us who cherish food and spend our days writing/photographing it are exhausted and overwhelmed when dinnertime arrives. 🙂 I love this meal you’ve made because it’s simple and quick but so flavorful.

  2. matt

    LOVING this. May I say brilliant photos too. I am really enjoying Nigel Slater at the moment. I have his Tender book which I seem to be cooking a lot out of these days. Fantastic food and writing.

  3. Laura

    Why am I not surprised that this is inspired by Nigel Slater? 😎 I don’t know what I’d do without Real Food Fast. My family thought they’d died and gone to heaven when I first made his bacon sandwich!

    I have tried SO HARD to like Tahini…but I just can’t stop using peanut butter in these recipes! I like the more pronounced taste of salty versus sweet…and Tahini just always seems a little funky-tasting to me. Am I the only one? Not to mention that it’s easier to slide a meal by the kids when you can tell them it has peanut butter in it!

  4. tracy

    yummmmtown! all your kids will eat this? Can you believe cooper doesn’t eat pasta or noodles?! UGGH. I’ll make this for me & the hubs, no doubt!

  5. Darlynne

    This is brilliant because right now I’m bored, impatient and happen to have all the ingredients on hand. I’ll finish the meal with one of your spiced caramels and life will be good.

  6. alison

    Your house sounds a little like mine. We often get hanger around here too. This looks delicious and the images are gorgeous!

  7. Hedvig

    Trust Nigel Slater for quick, delicious food. I had his mackerel toast for dinner tonight from Kitchen Diaries. But could have had this of I’d read it earlier. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Maia

    Ooh, that sounds good! I’ve always wondered how one achieves that peanut-y, thai-ish sauce in pasta dishes. I’ll try this out the next time I’m procrastinating cooking dinner to the point of driving my huband into a fit of “hanger.”

  9. Natashia@foodonpaper

    I love 15 minute meals! And pasta always seems to be the answer. I have some soba noodles which I have been meaning to cook for ages, that I think will work really well with this dish 🙂

  10. Rachel

    I’ve made this very sauce many times. You’re right, it really is the last-minute lifesaver. Pardon my deferring but, having made it with tahini as well as peanut butter, I do think it is best with the original Chinese sesame paste Slater recommends. (If I can get the latter in Colorado, it must be available elsewhere in the States!)

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Rachel – I imagine it is best as Nigel recommends but I most often have peanut butter on hand as I imagine other people do as well. I look forward to trying it with the sesame paste too. Thanks for your comment.

  11. Zoe

    great, fresh idea! i have all of the ingredients to do this myself this evening.
    i love nigel slater too.

  12. Brooke

    Bwahahaha! “Hanger”! It rears its ugly head in my house constantly. And now I know what to call it! This looks delicious and beautiful. Does that make it “deautiful?”

  13. MikeVFMK

    Such a lovely pasta dish in no time flat. Love the flavours and ingredients. And the images are beautiful! But that doesn ‘t surprise me. I need to make more meals like this and get back to spending time with my family. Thanks!

  14. Kasey

    This is the sort of thing I love throw together on a weeknight (I love making noodles with almond butter). Your pictures make a bowl of noodles look like a gourmet meal!

  15. Cookie and Kate

    Oh boy, I know all about hanger! I often turn to pasta when I don’t have leftovers at the ready and your Asian-inspired pasta sounds and looks fantastic. I made a similar dish with broccoli and red pepper that I have been meaning to post, but yours is a few steps simpler. Carrots seems like a great topping, too!

  16. kickpleat

    oh my gosh, this is the most gorgeous post! i love simple meals and i think you’ve elevated this one so it seems almost fancy 🙂 love it. and will bookmark for future quick meal times.

  17. melissa

    sounds delish! definitely going to file this one away for a quick weeknight dinner! i love how you deconstructed the recipe in your photographs. so beautiful!

  18. joey

    Yum! I can’t wait to make this. 🙂 I know my boys will love it too. I’m so glad I found your site. It is really impressive!!

  19. Stacy

    Made this today — added sauted eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes. Snap peas would have been good if I’d had them, as would grilled firm tofu. It was great!

  20. Jeff

    Yum – pasta with a garlicky, peanuty sauce is just the thing on a day when you’ve gotten home late. I need to make this more often and try your version. Looks great.


Post a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>