‘Back Pocket Pasta’ au­thor gets cre­ative with pasta, pantry sta­ples

Austin American-Statesman - - THE PLANNER - Rel­ish Austin Con­tact Ad­die Broyles at 512-912-2504. Twit­ter: @broylesa

Dried pasta isn’t very sexy, un­less it’s 5:30 p.m. and you’re run­ning on empty.

Colu Henry, the au­thor of a new book called “Back Pocket Pasta: In­spired Din­ners to Cook on the Fly,” grew up in an Ital­ian-Amer­i­can house­hold where pasta was the go-to meal many nights a week. She learned to look at a box or bag of dried pasta with new eyes as she be­came an adult whoworkedinthe­food in­dus­try with Bon Ap­petit be­fore be­com­ing a food writer and cook­book au­thor.

With the right ap­proach — a well-stocked pantry, some sea­sonal veg­gies and a pot of boil­ing wa­ter — you can make quick, easy and cheap meals that she calls back pocket pas­tas. Henry will be in Austin to talk about this laid-back ap­proach to din­ner at two events March 9. The first is a lunch and Q&A at 11:30 a.m. at Jef­frey’s, 1204 W. Lynn St. The buf­fet lunch costs $50 and in­cludes wine a nda­copy­ofthe book. From 6 to 8 p.m., Henry will host a book sign­ing at Metier Cook’s Sup­ply, 1805 S. First St., that will fea­ture wine and a sam­ple of the pasta in the book.

I was in­spired late last week by scrolling through Henry’s #back- pock­et­pasta on Instagram and de­cided to make a creamy spinach shrimp bu­ca­tini. I spent more money than I nor­mally would have on the dried pasta, tak­ing her ad­vice that it’s worth spend­ing a few ex­tra bucks to get the higher qual­ity stuff, and the gar­lic cream sauce with wilted greens and shrimp came to­gether quickly as the pasta cooked. All told, we were eat­ing din­ner less than 30 min­utes af­ter I put the wa­teron­to­boil.

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