One Pot Pasta, Sherwood Anderson, and Simplistic Elegance

 Enormous Pittsburgh mug used for measuring large quantities of water courtesy of Kevin,  The Office  loving pal and fellow cook.

Enormous Pittsburgh mug used for measuring large quantities of water courtesy of Kevin, The Office loving pal and fellow cook.

If there are two well-worn things I've carried with me since I graduated college, it's a recipe for one pot pasta that's been in rotation for years and an obnoxiously shiny copy of Winesburg, Ohio that's been on my bookshelf for even longer. Even though the book looks like a poorly executed ad for a tiny, rural town and the pasta is embarrassingly easy, there's something to be said about the tried and true simple things, especially as fall descends and the Chicago CTA turns into ground zero for every strain of the flu imaginable. Seriously is there anyone riding the purple line who doesn't have at least a little sniffle? Am I the only one who Googles "Is Ebola transmitted through sneezing?" every time I get on the train?

Fall is a time that cries out for elegant and hearty dishes made from the bountiful harvest and lots of lounging around and reading age-old classics, at least according to the ads in the magazines marketing toward middle aged women that I so frequently read. (Southern Living is my jam.) But honestly, with work and travel and calculating how much vitamin C I can take before I supersaturate my body, who has time for decadent dinners and 400 pages of women complaining about not being married (cough, cough Jane Austen)? Not me!

 Apparently we're all good, by the way.  I'll keep you updated; I check daily.

Apparently we're all good, by the way.  I'll keep you updated; I check daily.

What I do have time for is a criminally easy pasta recipe that you can make any time of the year and feel good about and a quick read that pretty much falls into that same category. Seriously people, I'm talking pasta and water as main ingredients and short stories you could read in between stirs. Throw in some fresh heirloom tomatoes from the farmers' market and a reason to read through all of my horrifically dramatic writing from those college days past, and I'm in. Anything that gives me more time to pop another cough drop and do another quick Google to check my heath.