The key to cooking at work is picking ingredients that pack a lot of flavor and can be easily stored in common refrigerators and/or desk drawers without disrupting -- or unduly tempting -- co-workers.
Tomato paste in a tube is one of those, because it is easier to keep and use in small amounts than the canned version. On the other hand, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese might not be a good item to keep in the office fridge; could you keep others from dipping into it? So in this recipe, it's optional.
- 3 angel-hair pasta nests (about 2 ounces total), such as De Cecco brand
- 4 cups water
- 3 or 4 oil-packed sardines , drained and chopped, plus 1 tablespoon of the oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste (see headnote)
- 4 large marinated pitted green olives (preferably in a spicy liquid), finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
Place the pasta nests in a large heatproof bowl.
Boil the water in a tea kettle, then pour it over the pasta nests. lmmediately insert a fork into the middle of each nest and swirl to separate the noodles. Cover with a plate and let sit for about 3 minutes or until the pasta is just barely tender.
Meanwhile, combine the sardines and sardine oil, tomato paste and olives in a medium microwave-safe serving bowl; mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover loosely with a paper towel to protect against splattering, then microwave on HIGH for about 30 seconds or until piping hot.
When the pasta is ready, pour off all but about 3 tablespoons of the water, using the plate to hold the pasta in the bowl as the water drains off.
Transfer the pasta and its remaining water to the serving bowl; immediately use a fork to incorporate it into the sauce, stirring and separating the pasta so it does not clump together. Add the cheese, if desired.
From Food editor Joe Yonan.
Tested by Joe Yonan.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.