One of the things I obsessively collect in my cooking life — aside, apparently, from container lids with no bases and jars of mustard seeds because every time a recipe requires it I presume I’m out because of that one time in 2010 I was — is recipes with very short ingredient lists. It’s not revolutionary to learn that, say, a salad can be made with just lettuce, oil, and vinegar or to find tomato bread, or basil pesto on these lists, but Marcella Hazan’s 3-ingredient tomato sauce is indeed something pretty revelatory, especially when you’re short on time to go to the store or merely patience to cook. So is this Minimalist Barbecue Sauce, Bacon Corn Hash, this summer squash pizza topping that could convert anyone to zucchini, and if does not, this Quick Zucchini Sauté will, the omelet that’s basically Spain’s national dish (and mine), and let us never forget all of the magical things that happen when you let fresh raspberries, brown sugar, and sour cream blister under a broiler, or roast a sweet potato until it almost candies itself inside. It’s not fully populated (I keep finding things I’ve missed and taking liberties when the 6th ingredient is butter or olive oil) but I finally got to pulling together a few of my favorites in this collection this summer. Life is busy; it’s here to help.
Despite all of this, I am a deeply contradictory person. While I assure you that these recipes don’t require any more ingredients than listed to fulfill their delicious destinies, if you were to try to tell me about a recipe with a set number of ingredients, I’d immediately bristle at the limitation. “What was the 6th one? Maybe I have it! I really don’t mind taking it out!”
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