The Modern Way to Cook
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.
Magic One Pot Spaghetti with Kale, Tomato, and Lemon
1 16-ounce box spaghetti or linguine
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Zest of 2 large lemons
Scant 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 heaping teaspoons flaky sea salt (if you are using fine-grain table salt, add a bit less)
1 bunch of kale or spinach, tough stalks removed and leaves coarsely torn
Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
Fill and boil a kettle of water. Place a large, shallow pan on the stovetop.
Put the pasta and halved tomatoes in the pan, along with the lemon zest, olive oil, and salt. Add about 1 quart of boiling water, put a lid on the pan, and bring it 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.
Add the kale to the pasta and tomatoes, and cook for another 2 minutes.
Once almost all the water has evaporated, take the pan off the heat and, using tongs, tangle the pasta into four bowls. Top with a little Parmesan.