First of all I need to thank you all for the incredible response from my last post. I have read every single comment and email and they have been like a breath of fresh air. I struggled to publish that post but you all have once again proven to be an incredible community that encourages and lifts us up. So thank you. I apologize for not responding to the emails and comments. It continues to be a bit of a difficult season for me and my family but I have seen so much amazing goodness come out of it already. We are covered in grace and are so thankful for your words and continued support.


Of course much can be said on the beauty of sharing a meal with dear family and friends as laughter mingles with the scents of soft spices drifting through the air. Where wine glasses clink over riveting conversation and dishes linger on the table far after the meal is done. There is also beauty in cooking for one.

Perhaps it is because for me this is a rare occasion – one to be celebrated and remembered. It is a time when my cravings and food adversities (of which there aren’t many) are the only ones to consider. It is a time when the pasta can be covered in little green flecks and I won’t hear the moanings from three little ones each one meticulously trying to pluck the herbs off their pasta.

My meals for one are simple and light, often composed of many small tastes and they are consumed in silence.

For another idea of what I like to eat while dining alone check out this cheese plate I created for Wisconsin Cheese. Also, check out for a great tool on pairing cheese with drinks. Somehow I managed to include chocolate with my cheese. I may have a problem.

*Disclaimer – I was paid to produce the content for Wisconsin Cheese. Words and images are, as always, my own.


Simple Pasta with Fresh Herbs

This pasta is far too simple for a formal recipe so instead I’ll channel my inner Nigel Slater (I wish) and contain its ingredients and basic method in paragraph form.

First you’ll set a pot of water to boil with enough salt in it that one taste conjures up images of those horrid accidental times of ingesting a bit of sea water. If you didn’t grow up around the ocean – the water should taste salty. Cook enough spaghetti noodles for one. While the noodles boil mince a handful or two of fresh herbs. In this particular batch I used chives, mint, dill, thyme, parsley and purple basil. Whatever you have on hand will do nicely. Add to that a finely minced half of a garlic clove and about a teaspoon or so of finely grated lemon or lime zest. In total you want to have about two tablespoons of this herb mixture.

Toss that with the hot pasta. Over the top you can grate Pecorino or Parmesan or dot the pasta with a bit of Feta or Chevre. Or just leave it as is. On this particular day the sun was shining and the temperature outside didn’t seem quite fitting for a big bowl of hot pasta. So before I tossed the pasta with the herbs I cooled them off with cold water then tossed in the herbs and had a dish that resembled more of a pasta salad.

Warm or cool it is an incredibly simple dish that satisfies, particularly if eaten alone.

27 Responses to “simple pasta with fresh herbs”

  1. Jasper {crunchylittlebites}

    Ashley, I read your posts the day their published. The only reason I did not comment or email about your last post is because I though my words would get lost in the shuffle. Really, I just want you to know that I have been going through a dark time in my life since last October and your photos have been one of the few peaks of brightness my dark days see. Hopefully this lesson of mine or yours teaches that fallen life is a part of the deal and it makes the bright that kind of “much more” special.

  2. Jessie

    Delightful! Even when I’m cooking for just me (rather than me + husband) I turn to something super simple like that. My friend just told me about sage spaghetti — a very Italian dish featuring spaghetti, butter, sage, & parmesan. Looking forward to a quiet night alone, now.

    And your cheese article. Yum! Hurray for Wisconsin cheese. My friend (again) has also been a large advocate with figs and goat cheese. Recently we had a lovely goat cheese gouda. I’d highly recommend.

  3. Kayce Stanley

    Ashley, thanks for the suggestion! It sounds like you are not alone in the dark times, I am going through one too. But…this post was particularly inspirational to me because my husband will be leaving for med school this summer and I will be alone for about six month stints (except when I got to visit), I have been thinking to myself that I have to find a way to enjoy cooking for one but not make it a huge project. And lord knows, I cannot let myself live on a variety of pizza which is typically what I do on a solo evening. Thanks for the constant inspiration and reminder that we are all imperfect, that families are imperfect, and relationships are imperfect. I have found that in times of darkness and imperfections, when I reach out to those closest to me I am quick to find out that we all go through it and there is certainly comfort in that…in knowing that I am not alone in difficult times. Thanks again for your being so open.
    PS – I made your zuchinni whoopie pies for a baby shower a couple of weeks ago. It was a “farm fresh” kind of theme and they were a huge hit!!! Somehow, I did not screw them up even though it was the first time I made them!

  4. Marissa | Pinch&Swirl

    First, these photos – they sparkle! Second, I’m loving the “far too simple for a formal recipe” style of recipe writing. Just finished Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal and it’s packed with this type of recipe. Somehow it makes me feel more a part of the creative process of making the dish, know what I mean? Thanks so much Ashley, just beautiful.

  5. Stephanie

    I love the reminder to make this simple meal…especially as the summer approaches. Conveniently enough, my neighbor has a yard full of herbs and has repeatedly offered her excess to me. Time to make this simple dish again!

  6. Will

    My wife and I read your blog regularly and often try the recipes you feature. We have enjoyed every single post and admire your skill, both in the kitchen and behind the lens. She’s from the coast as well, and knew exactly what you meant about the saltwater. Our schedules at this time dictate that we don’t always eat dinner together 🙁 and this particular recipe sounds perfect for when I’m cooking for myself. Thank you for sharing, and for always putting so much of yourself in your writing.

  7. Libby Stenberg

    I’m still learning from you, while I’m improving myself. I absolutely liked reading everything that is written on your site.Keep the tips coming. I liked it!

  8. transformacao muscular

    Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you
    know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a
    linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.


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>