We asked our in-house foodie to share a simple, easy recipe. Here’s what she sent (we’re planning on tossing it together soon):
Posted by: Christina Turner, Special Events and Community Relations Manager
Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Life is full of bliss when you can devour the simple joys of life. Although it is often challenging to incorporate simplicity in life, I never cease to find ease and comfort in simple cooking.
By sharing one of my favorite simple recipes, I hope you can see that simple sweetness and joy is actually all around you. It’s just a matter of awareness.
Spaghetti Aglio E Olio – Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil – consists of four ingredients from your pantry – pasta, olive oil, garlic and red chili flakes.
Unpretentious and informal, this dish is robust in flavor and immensely satisfying, it is a favorite quick snack or late evening meal. I was first introduced to Spaghetti Aglio E Olio by a Roman suitor back in grad school. But that is a story for another blog.
This classic cucina rustica dish exemplifies the importance of using what you already have on hand and paying attention to each part of the cooking process.
Spaghetti Aglio E Olio is an incredibly easy dish to make. But easy doesn’t always bring success! It can be disappointing if you’re not paying attention or use poor ingredients. Distraction from your work could lead to bitter garlic and gooey, sticky over-cooked pasta. Bleh.
Because cooking should be a creative and imaginative experience, you can adjust the flavors to suit your own individual taste adding more or less garlic or chili if you like. Feeling a bit fancy, you can toss in lemon zest, toasted bread crumbs or flat leaf parsley right before serving.
In 5 simple steps, you will have the perfect hearty dish for the last of these wintery days.
Fill a large pot with cold water, pop the lid on and bring to a boil.
Tip: To cook properly, pasta needs room to float and dance in the boiling water. Skimp on the water or worse add the pasta to the pot of cold water before bringing it to a boil and you’ll have a tangled and sticky mess.
As the water is heating up, thinly slice 2 – 4 cloves of garlic and set aside. Rinse and pat dry a few sprigs of Flat Italian leaf parsley. Chop and set aside.
Tip: If you don’t have fresh parsley on hand, don’t fret. Leave it out. Check your pantry for something else that is interesting in texture or taste.
Once the pot of water has come to a boil, add 2 pinches of salt. Watch the bubble roar. Add measured pasta to the pot and give it a good and gentle stir to get things going. Cook per the package’s directions. Leave the pot cover off!
Tip: How much pasta? Try this easy way of measuring: Place your forefinger and thumb together and use the space between those fingers as a guide to measure your pasta. This amount of pasta can satisfy 2 – 3 people. If cooking for yourself, divide that amount of pasta in half.
Heat a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add about 5 – 6 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Go for it. The oil is the sauce. Now chuck in your slices of garlic. Allow the garlic to gently simmer in the oil gaining some color. Add 1 – 3 teaspoons of chili flakes to the oil and garlic. Add your parsley or a tablespoon of breadcrumbs to the skillet. Add a little more oil. Give it a swirl.
Tip: If your garlic starts to burn or the chili flakes start to smoke, it is because the flame under the skillet is too high. You’ll need to start over because burnt garlic and chili flakes are torture to the taste buds.
Remove the pasta from its pot and add it to the skillet. A little of the pasta water will accompany the pasta. That’s cool. Coat the pasta with the aromatic oil, garlic and chili sauce. Add your fresh lemon zest for brightness in flavor. Sprinkle some sea salt or even the glorious Maldon salt on top of the Spaghetti Aglio E Olio. Give it another toss and serve immediately.
Enjoy in the warmth of your kitchen – on your own or with a good friend. Enthralled by the aromas and simple brilliance of true cucina rustica, you’ll vow to prepare it again.