linguine with garlic and oil better known as aglio e olio

There’s something incredibly extravagant about the beginning of a new year. Every 365 days you get to start over. I realize you could actually reset at any moment of the year but the notion of the planet doing it with you is remarkable. All those lofty resolutions being sent into the stratosphere. Some making it to heaven, others falling like boulders in a rock slide.

I sent a few up. Hopefully, they dodge the falling stones. Of course, I’m well aware my chances for success rest solely on my shoulders but I wouldn’t refuse a little celestial assistance!

First things first… surviving this miserable winter.

Aglio e Olio garlic and oil is a staple in our house. I can have it on the table in the time it takes me to boil the pasta. Occasionally, I’ve ordered it when we’ve been out but rarely to much satisfaction. The simplicity of the dish leaves cooks thinking they can throw a little olive oil and garlic in a frying pan, toss  in some pasta and they’ll have a dish worthy of it’s reputation.

Not true.

You have to use your best extra virgin olive oil. Given that this high grade fat burns at a low temperature it’s critical to adjust the heat as to gently cook the garlic and almond slivers the almond slivers are my twist on the classic without scorching the oil. The parsley must be Italian and flat! Not the curly pungent North American variety. It’s the wrong texture and taste. Skipping the seasoning is another no-no. This is one of the few dishes that I actually taste before serving. Too much salt is as damaging as too little. Finally, the cheese. Pre-ground packaged Parmesan has as much flavour as grated Styrofoam. Only a beautiful hunk of Reggiano-Parmigiano will transport you across the Atlantic to a little trattoria in Abruzzo

Once you have the ingredients, the technique is critical. I call it quick and dirty! Read on…

AGLIO E OLIO
Serves 2 to 4

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried red chili flakes
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
¾ cup chicken stock
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup Reggiano Parmigiano, freshly grated
2 tablespoons almond slivers
8 ounces great quality linguine

THE STEPS:

  • Prepare pasta according to manufacturer’s instruction being careful to time things so that the pasta is cooked when your sauce is ready.
  • In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium high heat
  • When oil is warmed add garlic, chilli flakes and almond slivers.
  • Sauté for 5 minutes not letting the garlic brown
  • Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the sauce to half then remove from heat
  • Add chopped parsley, grated cheese and cooked pasta.
  • Toss well and serve with lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

THE LOVE: The measurements for the salt, pepper and chilies are rough guesstamations. This is such a beautifully simple dish that it needs to be adjusted to suit your own taste. Remember to add in small increments. You can always add more but you can’t take it out!

click printable recipe

one year ago: my grandmother’s card club lemon squares

two years ago: pan fried pork chops in green peppercorn cream sauce

Thanks for reading.