While cooking, listen to this: Rosalita - Bruce Springsteen

Pasta cover.jpg

How many of you are watching (or have already finished) The Handmaid's Tale?  

It's excellent, but very troubling to watch. Even though I've devoured the book twice in my lifetime, the TV version shook me deeply. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a baby when it comes to dark TV shows and movies. When I saw Get Out I half-covered my eyes with my jacket  during any scene that maybe contained a jump-scare. I freaking hate jump scares. 

The Handmaid's Tale doesn't need jump scares to be utterly and completely jarring. The emotional depth and heartbreaking strife of these women is enough to make my stomach wring like a wet towel. Forget about the eerie way it sticks with you, especially if you consider today's polarizing political and social climate. I've watched three episodes so far, and am currently taking a mental break because, honestly, sometimes you just need to rewatch The Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld and eat a big bowl of pasta. 

Ah, pasta. Truly, one of my favorite foods. Give me some pesto spaghetti and I'm utterly content. But while a big bowl of pasta warms the heart after an especially disturbing episode of The Handmaid's Tale, it doesn't always sit so well with the tummy. I try to eat as healthily as possible (tbh, it's hard when Rina pulls a tray of piping hot biscuits out of the oven), so I focus on getting protein, fiber and fat in at every meal. Sadly, the standard pasta doesn't carry all those benefits. I recently discovered this lentil pasta that's packed with protein (and is gluten-free, for those with sensitive tummies) and I'm obsessed. 

As summer slowly starts invading the city (and I say that in the bitterest way possible), this is the pasta I'll be turning to time and time again. It's light, refreshing, and packed with flavorful deliciousness. Plus protein! The lentil pasta will keep you full and satisfied. If lentils aren't your thing, you do you, friend. Regular pasta works swimmingly, too. 

This mock "pesto" sauce will knock your socks off. All it requires is finely chopped parsley, minced garlic (well worth the stinky hands for this one!), buttery olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Ripe tomatoes are a must and a sprinkle of freshly-grated parmesan brings it all together nicely. I added olives and chickpeas to give it more of a middle eastern flair (and also to fulfill my personal agenda to add chick peas to everything).

I promise you, this pasta will be everything you need after a long day at work or school. It takes almost no time to whip up and will both nourish and comfort you through even the most hard-to-watch scenes of the heaviest of TV series. A therapist might dissent, but who says food can't be a good friend? Not me!

xo, Alyssa


Yield: 3-4 servings

Cook Time: 20m

Category: Mains, Sides

Source: adapted from Martha Stewart


½ pound of pasta of your choice

1 large, firm tomato

½ cup sliced green or greek olives

½ cup chick peas

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tablespoons Italian parsley

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

juice of ½ a lemon

salt + pepper to taste

freshly grated parmesan


Cook the pasta according to the package. Be sure to continuously check the pasta so it doesn't overcook. For me, the only way to really know is to eat a piece. It should be chewy and firm, but not crunchy. Also, I should note that I prefer fusilli pasta because the coils really hold onto the pesto. 

Make the "pesto." Finely chop the parsley. You can definitely substitute basil here, if you prefer, but basil is very seasonal and can be kind of expensive, so I usually opt for parsley. Next, finely mince the garlic by hand. I once read about a world famous chef who was appalled by people who use garlic crushers (guilty). Since this dressing is so light and flavorful, I strongly urge you not to use your crusher. It will take away the texture and might concentrate the flavor to one part of the dish. Add parsley and garlic to olive oil. Mix. Then add the lemon juice and stir again. Finish with salt and pepper to taste. 

Drain and rinse the pasta. Add pasta, olives, tomatoes, chickpeas and any other add ins to a mixing bowl. Pour "pesto" over the pasta. If you're finding your pesto to be a bit sparse, add another glug of olive oil. Mix well. 

Serve and top generously with parmesan. For my vegan friends, try subbing nutritional yeast to get that cheesy flavor.

Dig in. White wine encouraged.