By Sarah McColl
“The more I cook simply—easy pastas, quick hearty salads and all-in-one gratins—the more I realize that food doesn’t need to be posh, complicated or made from far-flung ingredients to do us good,” says U.K.-based writer, cook and stylist Anna Jones. “It’s the quick-to-make, everyday and weeknight meals that we eat on, say, Tuesdays and Wednesdays that make a real difference in our lives.”
Did you hear that collective sigh of relief? A little less Pinterest aspiration, a little more rubbing elbows with reality. Jones gets us. Which is why for her second cookbook, A Modern Way to Cook: 150+ Vegetarian Recipes for Quick, Flavor-Packed Meals, Jones took her inspiration from the reader favorites in her first book; they were the least chef-y and the fastest to travel from stovetop to table to stomach.
Organized by time, the recipes in A Modern Way to Cook eat up 15 to 40 minutes, tops. But no dish feels slapdash. Whimsical flavor combos like seasonal rainbow bowls with seeded halloumi and harissa are a nod to the constant inspiration of Hackney, the London neighborhood Jones calls home. Then there are the life-changing techniques. Take, for example, a recipe so simple it might as well be magic.
“My kale, tomato and lemon one pot spaghetti magic one-pot spaghetti is a life-saver when you really have no time at all,” she said.
If that’s not modern, we don’t know what is.
- 14 ounces/400 g spaghetti or linguine
- 14 ounces/400 g cherry tomatoes
- Zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons
- 7 tablespoons/100 ml olive oil
- 2 heaping teaspoons flaky sea salt (if you are using fine-grain table salt, add a bit less)
- 1 (14-ounce/400-g) bunch of kale or spinach
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Fill and boil a kettle of water and get all your ingredients and equipment together. You need a large, shallow pan with a lid.
- Put the pasta into the pan. Quickly chop the tomatoes in half and throw them into the pan. Grate in the zest of both lemons and add the oil and salt. Add about 1 quart/1 liter of boiling water, put a lid on the pan, and bring back to a boil. Remove the lid and simmer on high heat for 6 minutes, using a pair of tongs to turn the pasta every 30 seconds or so as it cooks.
- Meanwhile, remove any tough stalks from the kale or spinach and coarsely tear the leaves. Once the pasta has had 6 minutes, add the kale and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Once almost all the water has evaporated, take the pan off the heat and tangle the pasta into four bowls. If you like, top with a little Parmesan.