Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Saturday night comfort food: Aglia e Olio

Dear Readers,

I was feeling kind of down. In truth, I was feeling really down. I was kind of at a variety of loose ends, unsure of what to do to cheer myself up. Luckily, I live right near the Red Hook Fairway, and decided to treat myself. I headed over, and decided I would impulse grocery shop. I put only things that really appealed to me in my grocery basket. Here's what I ended up with (in the order I picked it up):

* a pomegranate
* a bag of clementines
* a bunch of parsley
* baby spinach
* celery (see: bloody mary)
* head of garlic
* sweet onion
* fresh salsa
* good bleu cheese (see how i emphasized the "good" by spelling it "bleu"?)
* spicy V8 (see: bloody mary)
* barilla thin spaghetti
* tortilla chips

I had decided that I would indulge on snacks (chips and salsa, bleu cheese and crackers) while making myself my most favorite, most comforting dish ever: Aglia e Olio. If you're new here- guess what, I love garlic. I also love the simplicity of aglia e olio. pasta, garlic, parsley, olive oil, red pepper flakes, topped with parmesan. there is nothing better. I was going to feel better. I won't lie, I have eaten my feelings before, I figured I would try to make it a productive exercise for myself and you, dear readers, by chronicling a simple, straightforward, immensely appealing recipe.

The only two things that take time in putting this together, are preparing the garlic and the parsley. I opened a bottle of wine, I turned on "The Lady from Shanghai", cleaned parsley, and peeled garlic. I will admit I was sitting on the couch not in the kitchen. I will also admit I was eating chips and salsa in the meantime, so yes I was finally feeling a little better.

After getting a nice dose of Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles, i decided to get off the couch and start mincing. Before I got my knife out, I put water on to boil. Always good to get that water boiling. I took the full head of garlic that I had peeled, and just started rough chopping, continuing until i got down to a nice mince. The same mincing can be done with the 3-5 tablespoons of parsley.

I heated 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over a low heat, and added 3/4ths of the minced garlic plus a few grinds of the salt grinder. Cooking most of the garlic slowly and over low heat with a little salt does a nice job of keeping the garlic sweet and mellow. Reserving a bit of the garlic to go in at the end will add the kick you want.

Hopefully by now, your water is boiling and you added your pasta (I went with thin spaghetti). The garlic is cooking slowly (~10 minutes or so, let it get to a nice light brown), your parsley is minced, you have a lemon and some red pepper flakes ready to go. Sit down, have some wine, you have a couple of minutes. Just make sure that as you close in on the end of the pasta cooking time, you reserve some of the pasta water- a half a cup is plenty. Once you've reached ~10 minutes on the garlic, the pasta should also be about done, you can drain it, and either put it back in the pot (with a little olive oil so it doesn't stick) or into a large serving bowl. Once your pasta is cooked. You can add the rest of the garlic, some more olive oil, the parsley, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and ~1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan with the garlic. (Sometimes I add less pasta water, if I feel like adding more lemon juice) Keep in mind you are aiming for a looser sauce- adding the pasta liquid helps the olive oil, garlic and parsley become a more fluid sauce. Pour over your pasta. Add some grated parmesan. Enjoy.

I did, and I felt better (I'm sure it had nothing to do with that bottle of wine).


1 comment:

  1. Yum! Sounds like a perfect dinner on a cold winter night!