A colleague used to write a column called "Meals in 60 Minutes," but the photographer who took photos to accompany it always referred to the column as Meals in a Minute.
After a few years she decided that 60 minutes was too much time to ask readers to devote to dinner, so now she writes "Meals in Minutes," a compromise between their philosophies.
If speed-cooking pushes the limits any further, cooks will need radar detectors in the kitchen. But if the choice is fast meals or fast food, I'm certainly willing to offer a quick menu to keep people cooking.
The following entree, penne with walnuts and green onions, cooks in less than 30 minutes. It's a delicious, savory mixture of pasta and onions, with the crunch of nuts and the richness of goat cheese, Romano cheese and cream. If it sounds too slow, use a microwave oven for everything but the pasta. Serve it with a simple spinach salad. If time allows, make poached dried peaches with Grand Marnier, white wine and ginger for dessert. It's delicious at any speed.
Penne with walnuts
and green onions
Makes 2 servings.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped green onions (2 to 3), white and green parts
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
6 ounces penne
1 ounce mild goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons freshly grated Romano cheese
freshly ground white pepper
Heat oil in large skillet. Add green onions and walnuts and saute over medium heat until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook penne in large pan of boiling water according to package directions. Drain well and add to skillet along with goat cheese. Reduce heat to low and stir gently until cheese melts. Add cream and Romano cheese. Season to taste with pepper and stir well. Serve immediately.
with Grand Marnier
Makes 2 servings.
10 dried peach halves
1/2 cup fruity white wine
2 ( 1/8 -inch thick) slices ginger root
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Place peach halves in small pan with wine, ginger root and cloves. Simmer, covered, until peaches plump up, about 10 minutes. Remove cover. Increase heat to medium and cook until wine is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Remove from heat and add Grand Marnier. Cover pan and set aside 15 minutes for peaches to steep. Before serving, discard ginger root and cloves. Serve peaches at room temperature with some of cooking liquid.