My favorite 25-minute recipe

I got a cookbook for Christmas – which is a strange gift to give a friend who you know hates to cook. It’s like the time my aunt mailed me a yoga mat in a silk butterfly carrying case with a card that said, “Heard you were taking karate classes.” They mean well, I know this. And it’s for my own good. But I just hate doing it!

My friend was quick to point out that this particular cookbook was “perfect” for me because all of the recipes could be completed in less than 25 minutes. That seems like a reasonable selling point except when you consider that I can make my usual dinner of a salad or can of soup in 5.

But I know she’s right: I should really try to embrace cooking. So yesterday, I decided I was going to make “Tagliatelle with Italian Sausage, Beans and Escarole” for dinner. I thought this was an especially good choice because the recipe did not contain the word “meanwhile” – which is always where things seem to go wrong for me. Doing two things at once has never been my strong suit.

Of course, last night I also had an aerial gymnastics class after work. And then I had to go to Whole Foods and buy all the ingredients that I didn’t have – which was precisely all them. After that, I made my usual mad dash to catch a departing 6 train. I considered myself lucky to have made it as I leapt through the closing doors – my baguette nearly getting clipped in the process – until I came face-to-face with the man who plays the electronic saxophone. I spent the next three minutes having “O Holy Night” played directly into my face – an indignity heightened by the fact that it’s not even Christmas anymore.

By the time I got home, it was 9:30 p.m. But I knew this was going to happen, and I was prepared to make dinner anyway. I’m glad I did because it was delicious.

So here’s how you do a 25-minute or less dinner in my house:

Take the fresh tagliatelle, mushrooms, escarole and all other ingredients you just purchased and line them up on your kitchen counter. Consider them carefully and then place all items in the refrigerator. Forget about them for two weeks.

Meanwhile, open a can of soup. Heat according to instructions on packaging. Serve with baguette.

Perfect every time.

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