Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Aglio, Olio and a Little More



This post is dedicated to my dearest friend K- without you, there wouldn't be this! 


Yes I'm still stuck on Italian food. I don't think this is a phase and I don't think its going to pass. But what can I say?! The Italians make their food so tempting and delicious, its not really my fault. The food is almost addictive. 

Also, according to very trusted sources(Facebook ofcourse!) today is National Spaghetti Day. So what better way to pay tribute to this humbly versatile spaghetti than to actually make it, eat it n enjoy it! 

So I ended up making the very simple Aglio, olio e peperoncino. But ofcourse I had to add my own special touches to it. 



I had this dish the very first time not so long ago and was not too enthusiastic about picking it from the menu. But I was having lunch with my best friend and he ordered it with such enthusiasm that I had to go with his choice and well... I ended up falling in love! From the time the huge steaming bowl arrived in front of us and the waitress sprinkled some freshly grated parmesan shavings on top, cracked some fresh black pepper till the time I twirled the strand of a single spaghetti on my fork, loaded it with the beautiful red peppers and the black olives and slurped it zealously in my eagerly awaiting mouth....... mmmmmmmmm absolute bliss. 

I love you K for helping me find a new love in my life! 

Naturally I had to make it at home. I did and guess what, today, my mom rates it as her favourite dish cooked by me! I think thats quite an achievement, don't you?! 

So dear readers, if you'd indulge me, I'd love to share my recipe for this delectable yet simplistic pasta with you. Here we go! 

Serves: 2 

Time taken: 12-15 mins 

Complexity: **

You'll need

1 lb or 500 gms of spaghetti (although linguini works too)
3-4 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced
2 red chili peppers, finely chopped 
1/2 green capsicum, finely chopped
1 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
1 cup of sun dried tomatoes
10-15 fresh basil leaves
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (unfortunately i have to used pre-shredded cuz the original stuff isn't available here. Apologies to the purists out there!)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chili flakes 
1 tsp Italian seasoning/ dried oregano+ dried parsley/ or a combination of your favourite spices
freshly ground black pepper, crack while serving.  
A Pinch of love

Method

First, heat water for pasta. Bring it to a rolling boil. Add 1 tbsp salt to the water and a few drops of olive oil. Add the spaghetti to it and stir it in gently so as not to break any of it. Cook it for a minute less than the given instruction on the packet. 

Be very particular when you cut the garlic cloves. The need to be thin and even. And oh yes! Those are the red chilies that went into this pasta. 



Meanwhile in an another deep pan, on low flame, add the olive oil to it. Add the thinly sliced garlic and saute till the garlic starts to turn golden. DO NOT LET IT BROWN otherwise it will give a bitter taste to the whole dish. MMHMnnmm..... has the heavenly fragrance reached your nostrils yet? I love the smell of garlic sauteing in oil. You can tell it marks the beginning of something really good. This should take about a minute. 



As soon as the garlic turns golden in colour, add the finely chopped red peppers and the green capsicum to it. Time to add in the chili flakes. toss everything well for about a minute till the peppers soften a little bit. The colour of the olive oil also darkens a little adding a nuttier taste to the dish. 


On a different note, don't you just love old pots and pans? They're like my friends, been with me through my best and worst experiences of cooking, with so many secrets to tell and share because when I cook, I do tend to pour out all my emotions into the dish. Phew, thankfully they can't talk or they'd tell you what a cuckoo head I really am! :P 


Next comes in the sun dried tomatoes. I make slow roasted tomatoes at home and I add almost 1 1/2 cups of them to the spaghetti. Tastes spectacular! You can learn how to make them too. Here's how! Add the tomatoes and the sliced olives. 



By this time your pasta should be done. Make sure its al dente. Save a cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Toss in the spaghetti along with the vegetables, spices n herbs, season with salt (be careful with salt because the pasta is already salted and we are yet to add parmesan to it). Mix till everything is well combined. Don't forget your pinch of love to make it extra special! Take care not to break the beautiful spaghetti strands while combining everything.

If your pasta looks a little dry, add some of the pasta water that we saved earlier.



Add the fresh hand torn basil leaves to it and mix again. 


You can feel free to add bits of crisp bacon, or some capers or green olives or whatever you feel would jazz it up a little more. Make it your own! 

Plate up in a large serving bowl and sprinkle some fresh parmesan shavings over it. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, if you want. Some freshly ground black pepper also adds that extra zing to it. And your Spaghetti Aglio e olio is served Ki style! Serve with a drink of your choice.  



Enjoy the deliciousness and don't really be disconcerted if you feel tempted to make it again and again and again everyday for the rest of your life and get addicted like I am! Indulge! :) 













2 comments:

  1. Hi, I made spaghetti first time using ur recipe n it came out very good :)
    I jst made a lil change, I used fresh tomatoes (finely chopped). I liked it n that's why I subscribed to ur blog now :)

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    Replies
    1. That's like music to my ears! :) I'm very happy that you liked the recipe and I'm even glad-der that you made it your own. Try out my other recipes as well and let me know how they come out! :)

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