In roughly six months my life will turn upside down. Gone will be my delicious self-directed schedule, answering only to me and, occasionally, Ralph. Soon, I’ll report to my partners, our employees and most especially our guests. It’s daunting to step up to the front line; to go unprotected into the wild and crazy restaurant scene with nothing, but a plate of pasta, to shield me.
Having said that, I intend it to be an awesome plate of spaghetti. Despite having already developed binders of recipes for Italian by Night, the new location inspires me to keep creating. Spring will be early this year. It already smells like marble season and it’s only mid-March. Tick tock…
As much as I love complicated, long-cooking ancient pasta dishes, I tend toward more simple recipes. Lack of time or lack of ingredients, you ask.
Neither. Like many kids from my generation, a big, hot bowl of steaming elbow macaroni with a river of melted butter is more comforting than a grandmother’s hug. Faster forward half a century, replace the elbows for some sexy, long-legged cut like spaghetti, use extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter and pimp it up with garlic confitura, freshly cracked black pepper, Maldon sea salt flakes and a dusting of Reggiano-parmigiana and you’ve made a spectacular pasta dish out of basically nothing.
PASTA AGLIO E OLIO
- 150 grams imported dried spaghetti
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons finely sliced garlic confitura – recipe follows. You can easily use half as much fresh minced garlic with delicious results.
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- Maldon sea salt flakes, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons flat Italian parsley, chopped
- 4 tablespoons Reggiano-parmigiana cheese, grated
- Boil pasta according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Meanwhile, heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add garlic to flavour the oil – do not brown. If you use the garlic confitura, mash it into the oil. If you use fresh, gently saute it.
- Add black pepper, chili flakes and 2 tablespoons of hot pasta water.
- Drain pasta.
- Add pasta to skillet, increase heat to medium- high and toss spaghetti until water is absorbed.
- Add remaining olive oil, parsely and grated cheese.
- Toss until well incorporated and serve immediately with Maldon sea salt flakes and extra grated Reggiano
THE LOVE: The beauty of this pasta dish is the simplicity. Don’t fuss…
- 20 cloves of garlic, peeled and blemish free
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- bay leaf
- Preheat oven 250*F
- Place ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat.
- Using a thermometer, heat until oil reaches 250*F.
- Place pot in oven for 40 minutes. Your garlic should be soft and the color of caramel.
- Remove the pot from oven and allow to cool.
- Discard bay leaf.
- Pour garlic cloves and cooking oil into a clean glass jar.
- Add more extra virgin olive oil to the jar, if the cooking oil doesn’t cover the garlic.
- Keep well sealed and refrigerated.
Thanks for reading.