The No-Cheese, No-Sauce Pasta Amanda Hesser & Her Kids Eat on Repeat

It’s in the running for best pantry pasta ever.

lcome to More Ketchup, Please, our newest series that’s spilling the beans on all the different ways we cook for, and with, our kids. We’ve got some great guests stopping by, to get schooled by their little ones on how to perfect family favorites. The more (cooks) the merrier? We think so.


If it surprises you how self-sufficient Amanda Hesser’s 12-year-old twins Walker and Addison are in the kitchen, then you probably haven’t read Cooking for Mr. Latte . The 2003 cookbook with memoir is an account of how her husband went from being a man with an empty refrigerator when they first met, to a pasta-making supremo after they had kids. If you have read Mr. Latte , then it’d be perfectly logical to expect this love of food and fearless cooking from her kids, whose starter lessons in the kitchen began when they were little.

As extra small humans, they’d hang around the kitchen as their mother cooked, sampling their way through. (Amanda’s own adventures with feeding herself began with Gaines Burgers dog food, age 3.)

“When they were really young,” Amanda says, “I would have unreasonable expectations for how neat children should be in the kitchen. I was like, ‘What? You don’t understand dipping and sweeping?’” Now, she says, she’s more likely to meet them where they are.

This year, the twins have started making their own lunches, which means Amanda’s days of making ambitious kids’ mealsand chronicling them are done (unfortunately for us). “You’ve gone from watching us cook to sitting at the kitchen table, and letting us ask you questions,” Addison says to her mom.

This fragrant pasta with preserved tuna, adapted from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook , is a repeat offender.

“It was something that we posted on the site, and caught my eye, so I started making it, and everyone really liked it,” says Amanda. “When it came time for them to learn how to make lunches, it seemed like a natural choice because it’s straightforward, and has all the ingredients that they love.” (Minus the preserved lemon, which they’ve since eliminated.)

“Maybe we can make sushi next,” says Walker.

“I’d try,” says Addison.

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