When climbing a mountain, you try to pack light and compactly. The food you take should also be light and not take up much space.

But how to prepare tasty meals under such constraints? Cooking mountain meals begins by choosing the right ingredients.

Junji Kosuzume, 48, an outdoor-activity coordinator, writes a serialized column on mountain meals for a climbing magazine. He also runs a cafe in Miura, Kanagawa Prefecture, three days a week, and so frequently goes to the supermarket.

While shopping, his eye tends to wander toward ingredients that are suitable for mountain trips. One of the recommended ingredients for such hikes is pasta, as it is light, easy to carry and has a long shelf life. Fusilli, the short twisted pasta shape, mixes well with sauce. Retort pouch-packed tuna is lighter than the canned variety and easier to carry.

Here, Kosuzume introduces a style where pasta is cooked with other ingredients in a frying pan or pot. The “one-pot” style, where pasta is not boiled separately, requires a smaller amount of water, and there is no need to pour out the used water.

“The pasta will taste better if boiled in salt water in a separate pot. But if you want to cook quickly in the mountains, this works quite well. Also, the concept of the one-pot pasta becomes useful in a time of disaster," says Kosuzume.

You don’t want to use a lot of water and want fewer pots to wash. Such constrained situations emerge both in the mountains and when disaster strikes.

Kosuzume shared another way to cook pasta in such situations, which he calls “one-minute pasta.” The pasta is immersed in water in a plastic zipper storage bag for more than an hour and a half.

This way, the required boiling time can be as short as one minute, saving fuel. Short pasta goes in the bag as is, while long pasta is broken in half beforehand.

INGREDIENTS

(Serves one.)

100 grams short pasta (fusilli)

1 retort-packed bag (70 grams) of tuna (canned tuna may be used)

8 cherry tomatoes

3 slices garlic

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Fresh basil

Black pepper

250 cc water

METHOD

Cut tomatoes in half. Add pasta, tomato, garlic, tuna scooped out of bag, basil torn with hands, salt, olive oil and water to frying pan.

Place pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 6 to 7 minutes while stirring.

Check taste, add salt if needed. Stir well so sauce thickens.

Sprinkle black pepper.

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From The Asahi Shimbun's Watashi no Ryori column