Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pasta All'aglio e olio

This is just about one of my favorite meals. Every couple of months or so I just get a real hankering for it. My wife really doesn't like it so I usually save it for when she's either not around for dinner or we have one of our 'get your own' dinner nights.

From what I understand this is a big dish in Roman trattorias and there are many versions. I was introduced to it in an 'Italian' restaurant owned and run by Chinese in San Francisco's Tenderloin district many years ago. The cooks had a huge canister of sliced garlic that they would dip into with a ladle in order to prepare this dish and stir fry it with cooked spaghetti and olive oil. I was crazy for it and would eat it about once a week when I lived in the City.

This is my take on the dish. Like I said my wife won't eat it as it really has a bit too much garlic for normal palettes but if you've read much of this blog you know by now my palette is quirky. But if you like garlic too, check this out.

This is the first clove I've harvested this year from the garlic I grew over the winter. You can see all of that on my gardening blog.

I peel and thinly slice a few cloves.

I start a pot of water to boil for spaghetti.

I add the slices to a cold pan with about 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepperoncini (red pepper flakes). I put the heat on low and allow the garlic to turn translucent without burning or any dark color.

This particular time I decided to add some fresh thyme twigs for a bit of seasoning towards the end of the garlic. It only takes about 5 minutes or so the get the garlic done.

I just started harvesting the first batch of green beans from the garden so there was my veggie dish. I cleaned them and boiled for 2 minutes in salted water and dressed them with salt, fresh black pepper and olive oil right after pulling them from the water. I then emptied the water used the cook the beans into the pot of the boiling pasta to add just a bit of the bean flavor.

When the pasta was about a minute short of done, I saved off a cup of the pasta water and drained the pasta into a colander. I then mixed the pasta into the pan with the garlic with a little bit of the pasta water to loosen the garlic that was now starting to stick a bit to the pan.

After cooking the pasta for the last minute, I served in a bowl with a side of the beans and a few olives. Yum!


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