spring caprese spaghetti with ho-made cherry tomato sauce

Everyone seems to melt down right around 25. Obviously no one teaches you who you're supposed to be or that many of your dreams are pointless, but some people seem to be really confused at how to set expectations for themselves in the first place. So people make lists of goals and hopes as a means of filling the 'what am I doing here' void. Sheltered versions of this list include 'be sure to travel even if you're broke!' and 'learn to accept your body even if no one else does!' and 'make sure to do something nice for yourself every day!' etc. etc. The most pathetic people are the ones who have this mental list and are offended when those things refuse to magically materialize. 

During a biweekly Chipotle lunch audit of how much we're currently dominating in life, my friend and I got to talking about all the life skills actually required to be a successful adult. 

My barometer for maturity might not be the most reliable, but I like to set standards I can achieve.

1. learn how to fold a fitted sheet

2. become friends with a bartender at a place you like going and want discounts

3. eat food so spicy you think your insides have scorch marks

4. watch all of Seinfeld

5. learn how to use a grill without lighting anything on fire

6. discover the beauty of clean breaks from exes you weren't that into in the first place

7. learn how to make adult macaroni and cheese

8. know a few choice phrases in two or three languages

9. take a nice set of questionable pictures with flattering light and a good angle

10. experience infidelity, on either side, so you know how shitty it is and never do it

11. have a piece of jewelry made especially for you, doesn't need to be fancy

12. have a party where someone has to be taken home because they are so shitfaced

13. smoke a cigar

14. go 72 hours without showering just to know what clean really feels like

15. be honest with yourself when someone is wrong for you

16. get a noise violation from your neighbors

17. make homemade tomato sauce

18. figure out what kind of wines are disgusting so you never order them

19. consolidate your socks to all one kind of sock so your socks always match

20. get into at least one sport, even if it's only during the playoffs

21. troll somebody for fun on the internet

22. make amends with your siblings because one day your parents will be gone

23. learn how to remove blood stains from white fabrics every time

24. drink straight tequila in a cup without a lime

25. go to a local concert and offer to buy the musicians burritos after when you meet them


Note that 'doing 2 loads of laundry every week instead of 8 loads every 4 weeks' and 'contribute $100 per paycheck to savings' did not make the cut.

spring caprese spaghetti with ho-made cherry tomato sauce | slothful slattern


Effortful time: 10 minutes 
Total time: 40 minutes 
Serves: 2


  • 2 tbsp. garlic olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, left whole
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 lb. whole grain thin spaghetti
  • 10 miniature balls of fresh mozzarella, no liquid, sliced into quarters
  • 1 cup (4 handfuls) fresh basil, in ribbons
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat the garlic olive oil in a high-sided sauté pan on medium-high. Cook the onions until almost translucent. Add the whole pint of cherry tomatoes and toss in the oil. Salt the whole thing. Half-cover to avoid it from painting an oil mural on the wall — these things are splatter-prone. Lower the heat to low-medium. You should hear angry sizzling. This is ok.
  2. After about 10 minutes, check out what's up: you should have a heap of wilty, sad tomatoes. With the back of a spoon, pulverize the tomatoes into what is almost paste. It's ok that there are skins and bits. That's the point of using cherry tomatoes. Continue to simmer on low. At this stage, set the water to boil and salt. 
  3. When the water is boiling and you've added the pasta, do another pulverization round and add the white wine to the sauce. Simmer uncovered until the pasta is ready. 
  4. Meanwhile, chop up a shit ton of basil and quarter some mozzarella balls. I used the same knife. Add these to the sauce.
  5. Crudely tong the pasta over into the sauce pan without draining. You need the water clinging to the spaghetti, so it's just as well.
  6. Toss, toss, toss, drink some lunch wine, taste the springtime, feel small elation, debate your accomplishments, realize your supremacy over other people, check your bank accounts, pour another glass.