Easiest Weeknight Pasta Ever & Florence, Italy

Vegetarian Vegan Easiest Weeknight Pasta Ever Quick Meal
Easiest Weeknight Pasta Ever (this one is extra saucy because I felt like having a lot of sauce)
I'll never forget the day my mom got locked in the bathroom at a restaurant in Florence, Italy. The poor Polish waiter did not speak English that well and was frantically trying to get my  panicking mom out of there . . . as my husband and I relaxed at the table, completely oblivious to the whole fiasco. We thought my mom was probably fixing her hair or something in the bathroom. Luckily the waiter and my mom were somehow able to work together to get her free.

Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy
The food at this restaurant was simple and absolutely delicious! I still dream about that pasta. It's unlike any I've had in the US, even though you can find authentic Italian food in the US. Maybe it was just the whole experience that made it seem more magical to me. When we arrived, we actually talked to the owner and she knew what 'vegano' meant so we were in luck. We just trusted her to make us something delicious. Being a person obsessed with food, I think about this pasta often and I sometimes crave it but haven't been able to find an exact recipe for it. I kept asking my husband and mom if they remembered this pasta and I had to have a way of describing it. Since I don't remember the name of the restaurant where we had this, and, we had pasta at several restaurants in Florence (leaving out the name Florence Pasta), I sometimes refer to this as 'Locked in an Italian Bathroom Pasta." (Luckily, THAT only happened once)

Maybe my mom just needed a sign like this
Falling in Love with Italy
You could certainly eat this pasta alone for a quick, easy, tasty, lycopene-filled weeknight dinner, but if you have a couple more minutes you could pair it with a nice salad topped with cannelini beans, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil like we had throughout our trip to Italy. This could also be paired with an easy side dish like my Spicy Lemon Garlic Broccolette, my Super Easy Chickpea Salad, some vegan Italian sausage, or Chocolate Mousse Pie.

8 - 16 oz. / 252 - 454 g spaghetti or other pasta, depending on how much sauce you like on your pasta
1 1/2 Cups water from cooking your pasta (reserve some of this for your sauce!) - about 3 ladles full
2 small cans tomato paste (12 oz / 340 g total)
3 Tbsp Vegan Margarine (Earth Balance Buttery Spread)
garlic salt, to taste (I like the Trader Joe's roasted garlic sea salt, but any garlic salt will do)
pepper, to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)

1. Start heating water for your pasta.
2. Meanwhile, heat the tomato paste and vegan margarine over medium-low heat. Mix well. Add garlic salt and pepper.
3. Cook your pasta per package directions, BUT before the pasta is done cooking, take some of the starchy water from the pot and add it into your sauce. Mix.
4. You can turn up the heat a little on the sauce now since it is less likely to burn or stick with the addition of the pasta water.
5. Taste your sauce and add more garlic salt and pepper, if necessary.
6. After the pasta is cooked and you have drained it, mix well with your sauce and enjoy!


  1. Looks simple & delicious! Beautiful pictures! And how funny that your mom getting locked in the bathroom inspired an alternate name for the pasta! :)

  2. Awesome dish and wonderful pics! Thought I would stop by for Vegan Mofo! Neat place you have here! I have a couple of vegan contests on my blog this week if you want to swing by

    1. Thank you! Thanks for stopping by. I will check out your blog!

  3. what a cute picture of you two! And now that I see a picture of you, I totally remember you from VVC. Are you going to be at VVC Austin? I am having so much fun learning about you through your blog and now I really want to officially meet you again!

    I don't know how they do it, but the pasta in Italy is almost always magically better and more delicious than anything we can recreate at home. I think they put fairy dust in it.

    1. Thank you! I have not signed up yet, but I am going to VVC Austin! I can't wait to meet you. I don't think we got to speak at the last VVC, but I did find out about MoFo from your workshop! Thanks for that!

      I think you are right about the fairy dust!!

  4. YUMMO! I was just saying to my husband earlier today that we haven't had a pasta meal in ages and I so feel like one!
    Will have to add this to our meal plan for next week. There is something amazingly comforting about eating pasta :D