Making the Most of What You Have on Hand: Colu Henry’s Back Pocket Pasta

No home cook truly understands the importance of a well-stocked pantry like Colu Henry, and Back Pocket Pasta, her new cookbook, is more a field guide to perfect pasta. If it’s your first time hearing Colu Henry’s name, I can guarantee you’ve been familiar with her for years. A recipe developer and food-lifestyle influencer, Henry has put her timeless spin on every field she touched.

After representing celebrity chefs like Marcus Samuelsson and Scott Conant, she then went on to build the Public Relations for the Oregon Wine Board. Following that venture, she became the Director of Special Projects for Bon Appétit. If that packed resume wasn’t enough, she was an international judge for the Argentine Wine Awards.

All of this is to say that Colu Henry knows flavors, pairings, and just how difficult it is to make a long dinner after a very long day of work and personal obligations. That brings us to Back Pocket Pasta, now a cookbook sensation.

One week to go! Turned my favorite Mushroom Toast breakfast at @bonfigliobread into a #backpocketpasta.

A post shared by Colu Henry (@coluhenry) on

Colu Henry started the Instagram sensation, the #backpocketpasta movement, that grew from her kitchens, both in New York City and upstate, and spread to kitchens from admirers and home cooks all over the country.

The concept is simple: bring together what you know and love best, and make sure it comes together easily. The pasta variations stem from her family, as she is the great-granddaughter of Italian immigrants who understand the importance of stretching a pantry for the many mouths to feed at the dinner table.

And that’s precisely what makes Back Pocket Pasta, both the movement and the cookbook, so relatable.

It’s not about going to the grocery store every weeknight to collect spare ingredients for a recipe you found online that morning, it’s about learning to shape-shift your favorite recipes to include ingredients you have on hand.

When my girls are here, I make alla vodka, alla 'nduja. #backpocketpasta #ahouseinhudson #f52grams

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A weeknight dinner should be easy to bring together, satisfying, and comforting on the level of indulgence you just need that evening. Rough day? Probably a pasta bake is in order if you have a little more time. Long day? Try the five-ingredient Alfredo sauce that comes together in less than 10 minutes.

When Colu Henry came to Austin recently, she so graciously filled out the first of our Snippets from a Home Cook series! Check out her answers below.

colu-henry-home-cook-pasta

Do you have anything in common with Colu’s cooking style? Let us know, and be sure to follow her on social media to keep track of her ever-growing #backpocketpasta community.

Follow below to read the full review of the cookbook, including an overview of the five dishes I made!

Back Pocket Pasta:

I Cooked 5 Dishes in One Week and This Is What I Learned