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Back Pocket Pasta: Inspired Dinners to Cook on the Fly: A Cookbook

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Here are more than 75 sophisticated, weeknight-friendly pasta dishes that come together in the same amount of time it takes to boil the water. As much a mindset as it is a cookbook, Back Pocket Pasta shows how a well-stocked kitchen and a few seasonal ingredients can be the driving force behind delicious, simply prepared meals. Pantry staples--a handful of items to help y Here are more than 75 sophisticated, weeknight-friendly pasta dishes that come together in the same amount of time it takes to boil the water. As much a mindset as it is a cookbook, Back Pocket Pasta shows how a well-stocked kitchen and a few seasonal ingredients can be the driving force behind delicious, simply prepared meals. Pantry staples--a handful of items to help you up your dinner game--give you a head start come 6pm, so you can start cooking in your head on the way home from work. For instance, if you know that you have a tin of anchovies, a hunk of parmesan, and panko bread crumbs, you can pick up fresh kale to make Tuscan Kale Caesar Pasta. Or if you have capers, red pepper flakes, and a lemon, you can make Linguine with Quick Chili Oil. With genius flavor combinations, a gorgeous photograph for every recipe, and a smart guide to easy-drinking cocktails and wine, Back Pocket Pasta will inspire you to cook better meals faster. Who knew just five ingredients could taste like magic?! --Refinery29


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Here are more than 75 sophisticated, weeknight-friendly pasta dishes that come together in the same amount of time it takes to boil the water. As much a mindset as it is a cookbook, Back Pocket Pasta shows how a well-stocked kitchen and a few seasonal ingredients can be the driving force behind delicious, simply prepared meals. Pantry staples--a handful of items to help y Here are more than 75 sophisticated, weeknight-friendly pasta dishes that come together in the same amount of time it takes to boil the water. As much a mindset as it is a cookbook, Back Pocket Pasta shows how a well-stocked kitchen and a few seasonal ingredients can be the driving force behind delicious, simply prepared meals. Pantry staples--a handful of items to help you up your dinner game--give you a head start come 6pm, so you can start cooking in your head on the way home from work. For instance, if you know that you have a tin of anchovies, a hunk of parmesan, and panko bread crumbs, you can pick up fresh kale to make Tuscan Kale Caesar Pasta. Or if you have capers, red pepper flakes, and a lemon, you can make Linguine with Quick Chili Oil. With genius flavor combinations, a gorgeous photograph for every recipe, and a smart guide to easy-drinking cocktails and wine, Back Pocket Pasta will inspire you to cook better meals faster. Who knew just five ingredients could taste like magic?! --Refinery29

30 review for Back Pocket Pasta: Inspired Dinners to Cook on the Fly: A Cookbook

  1. 4 out of 5

    MaryannC. Book Freak

    This is my kind of cookbook, easy, do-able recipes with ingredients I can obtain and that are not too exotic and they look pretty darn good. Instructions not complicated, lovely pics of the dishes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    Gave this to my sis Jo as a b-day gift and ended up getting it for myself. Made pastas w/ tuna/arugula and lemon/anchovy. Great ways to use up ingredients already in your pantry. You learn good real Italian techniques like using pasta water in your sauce. This Italophile gives it my sign of approval. Buon appetito!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shipshapeeatworthy

    When I started to post pictures of recipes that I tried from Back Pocket Pasta the first question I got was: "What exactly is back pocket pasta?" My understanding of the expression used here is that you have a well-stocked pantry with easy to prepare recipes "in your back pocket" (ideas you're saving until later when you need a delicious meal prepared in no time). Her book takes the humblest of ingredient -- dried pasta -- and builds simple, yet effortlessly elegant meals out of it. Think: styli When I started to post pictures of recipes that I tried from Back Pocket Pasta the first question I got was: "What exactly is back pocket pasta?" My understanding of the expression used here is that you have a well-stocked pantry with easy to prepare recipes "in your back pocket" (ideas you're saving until later when you need a delicious meal prepared in no time). Her book takes the humblest of ingredient -- dried pasta -- and builds simple, yet effortlessly elegant meals out of it. Think: stylish comfort food. We're no strangers to pasta dinners here but I live with two people who think that oven-roasted cherry tomatoes and spaghetti is the only pasta meal going (well, that, and if you ask the small one, she'll probably mention something about "Annie's" too). It's this meal that's my go-to when I have nothing else at my fingertips, so it is with Back Pocket Pasta I am happy to expand our pasta repertoire, and I found that what Henry offers is an effortless way to achieve this goal. In the opening section, Here's How it Goes, she quickly outlines ingredients, tools/kitchen set up, and how to properly cook the pasta (salted water, cook to al dente -- that's key, save the pasta water, have the sauce ready, and to toss your pasta in the sauce). These steps sound like a given but, to be honest, the only step I ever observed was the "cook to al dente" one and now that I've incorporated the others my pasta has gone from okay to restaurant-quality. Who knew that just a few simple steps could have such a marked difference on the outcome of a pasta dish? Even my four-year-old noticed! And it is with these basic tenets that the recipes follow: pulling together a few ingredients with a specific pasta shape to quickly come up with a meal that's delicious and comforting. The recipes follow in four main sections -- Mama's, Powers Street, Brooklyn, Hudson & The Valley, and Travels Near & Far. Her recipes rely on using dried pasta, which is easy to source and very shelf-stable so that you're always prepared. From there you take fresh ingredients or pantry staples (outlined at the end of the book in the section Stocking Up) and you've got yourself a meal within about an hour. Some of the recipes include meat, poultry or fish but there's lots of plant-based love here too. Out of the 10 recipes I've tried already most can be made vegan simply by omitting the cheese or dairy and there's no reason why if you observe a gluten free diet that you couldn't use your favourite gluten free pasta in place of the regular kind. This is the kind of book Henry has written -- one where you can easily mold a dish to your preferences. It's about finding ease in the kitchen when you need it. When I made her recipe for Baked Ziti with Crème Fraiche and Spinach, I just omitted the Italian sausage since we're a family of vegetarians. It was that simple and the dish turned out so tasty! It always appeared to me that any baked pasta recipe seems involved but even with this recipe it's on the table within an hour! If that sounds like a long time, there are recipes that can be ready in less than twenty -- take her recipe for Two-Step Tortellini en Brodo. Any type of tortellini paired with any type of stock and there's dinner! I always keep fresh tortellini frozen for quick use and my daughter loved this "noodle soup," as she put it. Back Pocket Pasta is all about flavour -- less is more it. When my husband and I first met over 17 years ago he was always trying to get me to make pasta with Alfredo sauce, but I thought it was too fussy -- anything with a roux always seems like more effort. Fast forward those years and you've got Carla Lalli Music's recipe for Fusilli Alfredo included in Henry's book. Lalli Music says, "Whoever you make this for will know instantly that you love them very much" and (without a word of a lie) when I served this to my husband, he took one bite and said, "You must really love me!" What I loved about this recipe is that it doesn't contain cream, milk, or flour yet you still end up with the most luxuriously creamy alfredo sauce (as a side convo I didn't have any fusilli on hand, so I used strozzapreti, I felt no stress about not having the exact ingredients on hand and no need to make a trip to the store). All the recipes in Back Pocket Pasta are tried and true -- handed down within Henry's own family or from her friends. Just as the Alfredo came from Lalli Music a few of the other no-fuss recipes I tried, such as, the Pesto alla Trapanese and the Pasta with Spinach and Goat Cheese, hail from others who are close to Henry. If Henry doesn't have a recipe for it, she knows just the person to call upon. I appreciate how she can point the home cook in the right direction for whatever type of pasta dish they're in the mood for. Bonnie Slotnick's Pasta with Spinach and Goat Cheese is divine! At only 4 ingredients it proves that a homecooked meal is never more than one pot away! The one section I have yet to really explore is the section on Salads and Sides. Here you'll find several gorgeous salads along with her husband, Chad's, Garlic Bread. There's also a guide on pairing up your meal to a great wine or cocktail. She's thoughtfully included these little extras to round out the book and, in this way, I feel like Back Pocket Pasta acts as both a cookbook as well as a guide to simple, beautiful weeknight meals. There's something to be said for sitting down to a meal that picks you up rather than stressing you out. Please note that this is an excerpt of a review posted to www.shipshapeeatworthy.wordpress.com I used my own copy to happily write this review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Clwseattle

    I checked this cookbook out from my library. I only found a very few recipes that caught my interest enough to copy. I appreciated the pictures and her many hints and tips. The 'weeknight drinking' guide tickled me and the wine section was instructive. I checked this cookbook out from my library. I only found a very few recipes that caught my interest enough to copy. I appreciated the pictures and her many hints and tips. The 'weeknight drinking' guide tickled me and the wine section was instructive.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily Joyce

    I would highly recommend this for the home cook. It's simple pasta recipes without being gimmicky, and a great reminder for back of the pantry items that you can throw into a tasty dish. It's also beautifully photographed and laid out. I would highly recommend this for the home cook. It's simple pasta recipes without being gimmicky, and a great reminder for back of the pantry items that you can throw into a tasty dish. It's also beautifully photographed and laid out.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chain Reading

    Gorgeous photos and design, and I loved the vision of coming home after a hard day and creating a simple, healthy, elegant meal. However, if you're an experienced cook, you won't necessarily find a lot of new ideas in here. Gorgeous photos and design, and I loved the vision of coming home after a hard day and creating a simple, healthy, elegant meal. However, if you're an experienced cook, you won't necessarily find a lot of new ideas in here.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    I love pasta and would eat it all the time if l could. I got this cookbook from the library after cooking five recipes that were wonderful,I bought my own copy today.Easy to make recipes with ingredients most of us all ready have in our kitchen.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    i read this cookbook cover to cover like a novel i have not yet made a recipe (only just got it) but i know that it has changed how i’ll approach cooking pasta - in a good way update 1/29/18- so far i’ve made 3 recipes and loved them

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leonard

    An abundance of great looking recipes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    Great pictures, wonderful prose and hints, and recipes I definitely want to try. This book makes them sound easy, hopefully they are.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    Lovey pictures but terrible recipes that don’t turn out at all. It’s a beautiful advertisement for Barilla Pasta.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    I've had this cookbook for a while now, and while I tried to cook different recipes from it at first, I scarcely turn to it now. The recipes aren't that great--either lacking flavor or texture. A lot of them are very similar as well and use the same ingredients, so if you don't like those (like anchovies), you're out of luck. There are some tasty things to try, but overall not the best cookbook. I've had this cookbook for a while now, and while I tried to cook different recipes from it at first, I scarcely turn to it now. The recipes aren't that great--either lacking flavor or texture. A lot of them are very similar as well and use the same ingredients, so if you don't like those (like anchovies), you're out of luck. There are some tasty things to try, but overall not the best cookbook.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Faryal M

    The Pasta with Shrimp in Tomato Cream recipe was inspired and so much more delicious than something that quick and easy usually is. Also tried the Campari spritz cocktail, a lighter take on a Negroni, which was fantastic. I need to try more recipes from this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Recipes look simple and delish, and the photos are lovely. Can't wait to try the 2 step tortellini en brodo! Recipes look simple and delish, and the photos are lovely. Can't wait to try the 2 step tortellini en brodo!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rachel C.

    Minimally helpful or inspirational for me, because I'm used to cooking improvisationally from my pantry. YMMV. Minimally helpful or inspirational for me, because I'm used to cooking improvisationally from my pantry. YMMV.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I enjoyed this cookbook and found myself wanting to make most every recipe. Most of them are very easy because of the nature of the cookbook, and I like the cookbook is meant as inspiration not strict instructions as it is meant to teach you good combinations so that you can learn to throw together a quick meal based on whats in your pantry. This cookbook is a nice combination of practical, inspirational and full of beautiful pictures that just make you want to cook, and eat! ********ADDING TO R I enjoyed this cookbook and found myself wanting to make most every recipe. Most of them are very easy because of the nature of the cookbook, and I like the cookbook is meant as inspiration not strict instructions as it is meant to teach you good combinations so that you can learn to throw together a quick meal based on whats in your pantry. This cookbook is a nice combination of practical, inspirational and full of beautiful pictures that just make you want to cook, and eat! ********ADDING TO REVIEW******* Im changing my rating of four stars to five because over time as I trying the recipes from this book they have all come out great. And not only great but I view this cookbook as my safety net. If I ever need to whip up some good food for the family I always know these will come out well and several are already added to my personal cookbook as regulars! Especially the spicy sausage and corn pasta. I always have all the ingredients in my fridge in case I need a quick and easy meal!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jbiasatti

  18. 5 out of 5

    Claire

  19. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kduncan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ariella

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marianna

  23. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

  24. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

  28. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Snuggs

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vjera Thompson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mary Baker

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