Spaghetti with anchovies, garlic, chile & broccoli rabe

It’s called the Sunday Night Blues but let’s call if SNB for short as it’s, 1) shorter and, 2) sounds far more scientific. You don’t need a Nobel prize winning scientist or some fancy doctor to diagnose this one. The symptoms are all too apparent. Basically, it’s an overwhelming sense of doom. Yep, a feeling that life as you know it is pretty much kaput thanks to the eminent arrival of your least favourite day and mine, Monday.

Now, the smarty pants out there will tell you there are lots of things you can do to combat SNB, like pretending that Saturday is Sunday so Sunday becomes Saturday. Yep, I think it’s a pretty dumb idea too. Because, let’s be honest, if you do that you don’t get rid of SNB, you just end up with two days of SNB rather than one.

Or you can go outside and surround yourself with nature and get lots of fresh air and remind yourself how lucky you are to be alive. That lasts for about 10 minutes until the rain starts and you realize how short the days are and get really depressed.

Or you can do like I do. Don’t fight it. Feel sorry for yourself. Lament the passing weekend like you do your youthful good looks. Wallow. Sigh a lot. Stare out the window and sigh some more. And when you’re done being a killjoy then head into the kitchen and get cooking.

And yes, I know that food won’t ‘cure’ SNB but it sure as heck won’t hurt. Which would you rather be? Miserable and hungry or miserable with a bowl of pasta in front of you? Duh. Next question. This recipe is simple and satisfying. It doesn’t pretend it can make the world a better place or eradicate SNB. It’s more like a hug, a reminder that another weekend will come in approximately 120 hours, more or less.

Spaghetti with anchovies, garlic, chile & broccoli rabe

This makes enough for one hungry curmudgeon. If anyone can stand being around you, feel free to double the quantities.

4 ½ ounces spaghetti

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 small clove of garlic, finely minced

2 anchovy fillets in oil

½ tsp Chile pequin

2 ounces broccoli rabe or regular broccoli, chopped

Handful of parsley, chopped

Parmesan cheese, grated

Bring a pot of water to boil. Generously salt it and add the pasta. Cook according to the package directions until al dente (with a bit of bite and definitely not mushy).

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and gently sauté the garlic, anchovy fillets and chile flakes. Mash the anchovy fillets with the back of your spoon – they will melt into the olive oil. This will only take a minute or two – don’t go check your Instagram account or the garlic will burn.

When the pasta is done, scoop it out of the pot with some of the water clinging to it and place it in the pan with the anchovy, garlic and chile. Pop the broccoli rabe into the pasta pot for a minute just to cook a bit, then add it to the frying pan with the pasta in it as well.

Toss to coat the pasta until any excess water is absorbed. Taste and add salt if needed and more chile flakes if you so desire. Stir in the parsley, place in a bowl and garnish with parmesan.

Enjoy, or as much as you can on a Sunday night.

A Garlic Getaway

Haven’t you ever felt like Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel (minus the ballet shoes and tutu) and wanted to utter in your best German accent, “I vant to be alone!” Of course you have. Like Marlene, we all need a little space sometimes. And Greta never had to deal with email, texts or twitter.

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You know what I’m talking about. It’s moments when you want the world to back off and give you a bit of space, for crying out loud. Why does everybody, everywhere want something from you yesterday?

So do a Greta and tell everyone politely but firmly that you want to be alone. Hide you cell phone where you can’t see it. Turn off the computer. And close the curtains. Get out the box set of Breaking Bad – or better yet watch Grand Hotel on Netflix.

If folks continue to pester you, allude to some very nasty illness (a tapeworm always makes people run in the other direction) and feign doctor-ordered bed rest. Desperate times require desperate measures. Then curl up on the sofa. It helps if you have a dog to join you (consider borrowing a friend’s if you don’t) and chill.

But hold on. Before the chill phase you’ll need sustenance. You can’t be relaxed on an empty stomach. Plus all that tummy rumbling upsets Greta. I suggest a big ole bowl of Garlic Soup.

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Garlic Soup? Yes, you heard me. We’re talking about 4 cloves of garlic. Your breath? Who cares. You’re alone for heaven’s sake. Plus you should know better than to have friends/loved ones/partners who don’t like garlic. It’s very easy to make and comforting like a hot water bottle or a favorite blanket (note to self: get both of these ready too before the movie starts).

You’ll emerge  a few hours later refreshed and ready to face your inbox. Promise.

Garlic Chipotle Chile Soup

This makes enough for 2 good-sized bowlfuls.

4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 bay leaves
2 cups water
Stale bread, torn off into chunks (about 1/3 cup)
1 egg, beaten well
1/8-1/4 tsp Chipotle powder
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil

Optional

Parsley, chopped
Parmesan cheese, grated

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Place the chopped garlic and bay leaves into a pan and cover with the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Taste the broth, add salt if needed and remove the bay leaves.

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While the broth is cooking, place the bread in the bottom of your soup bowl. Add the chipotle powder to the egg and mix well.

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Remove the broth from the stove and carefully pour the beaten egg into the broth, continuously stirring as you incorporate the egg. This is key as you want the egg to form nice ribbons – not big clumps of scrambled egg. Ladle the soup into the bowl on top of the bread. Sprinkle with a bit of parsley, drizzle with a good quality extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of cheese, if you like. Taste and add more chile as desired. Serve while hot and enjoy.

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