Dinner for One Recipes--Extra

Ah, time alone—and time for a little indulgence. Try these savory recipes from Moira Hodgson. They aren’t difficult to prepare, but the results are light-years ahead of Chinese takeout or a containerful from the salad bar 

by Moira Hodgson
fish recipe image
Poached cod fillet with clams and peas
Photograph: Christopher Testani

Salad of Tuna, White Beans and Red Peppers

High quality ingredients really make this simple dish worth eating.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 0

1 4-ounce can tuna packed in oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or more to taste)
½ 14-ounce can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper marinated in olive oil, cut in strips
¼ cup chopped red onion (or 2 sliced scallions, including their green part)
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1. Put the tuna in a bowl with its oil and the lemon juice. Add the beans, red pepper and onion and toss gently. If necessary, add a little more olive oil.

2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Spaghetti al Limone

Parmesan in a chunk is great for the single cook. Wrap it in wax paper, then foil and put in a plastic bag to keep it moist. It will keep for weeks in the freezer. To calculate the portion of spaghetti for one, make a circle with your thumb and forefinger between the size of a nickel and quarter. Enough strands to fit inside this circle will amount to about 2 ounces.
Prep time: 12 minutes
Cooking time: 9 minutes

2 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon basil and/or parsley leaves, snipped

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the spaghetti. Meanwhile, combine the cheese and the lemon juice in a small mixing bowl. Gradually beat in the olive oil so the mixture is thick and creamy (the cheese will melt into the oil). Stir in the grated lemon zest.

2. Cook the spaghetti until al dente, drain and empty it into a warmed medium-sized bowl.

3. Pour the sauce over the spaghetti and toss it well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with basil or parsley and serve.

Pasta con le Sarde

A great last-minute pasta dish made with ingredients from the pantry.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

2 ounces spaghetti
1 4-ounce can good-quality sardines packed in olive oil
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained and dried on paper towels
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic clove, minced
¼ cup breadcrumbs
A pinch of dried hot red pepper flakes
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the spaghetti. Drain the sardines. Put them in a bowl that’s large enough to hold the spaghetti and cut them into smaller pieces, using a fork.

2. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the capers and fry, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes, until crisp. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add the onion and and garlic, and cook, about 8 minutes, until translucent. Put them in the bowl with the sardines.

3. Put the spaghetti on to cook. Add remaining oil to skillet. When it’s hot, add the breadcrumbs and the pepper flakes. Stirring frequently, cook the breadcrumbs until they are lightly browned (3-4 minutes). Remove from heat. Add them to the sardines and mix them in with a fork.

4. Drain the spaghetti when it’s al dente and add it to the bowl. Toss well and season to taste with the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and capers, and serve. No cheese is necessary with this dish.

Portobello Mushroom and Yukon Gold Potatoes Provencal

This is a vegetarian meal made with a portobello mushroom served like a steak. It is rich, meaty and filling.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

2 small Yukon Gold Potatoes (cut in 1-inch pieces, skin on)
2 plum tomatoes or 1 large regular ripe tomato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 portobello mushroom
6-8 pitted black olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (flat leaf)
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

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