Monday, December 14, 2009

Aglio e Olio

And now for something completely different...

Taking a leaf out of Fr Z's cookbook - he was an accomplished chef ere he became a priest, in case readers aren't aware of quite why he so oft waxes lyrical about culinary delights - I must return to my occasional mentions of things edible and drinkable.

It goes without saying that, like most other people these days in the idle West (for one cannot escape the Zeitgeist), it seems a wan day if it be spent without having a good coffee at some café, reading the newspaper(s); though this morning, I brewed up some coffee instead...

Just recently, it's been simple pleasures for me, such as thick-cut marmalade on buttered toast, or kippers (for I like strong tastes very much), but most recently, I've several times snacked on a favourite comfort food, pasta aglio e olio.

I recall that it was in Elizabeth David's classic work on Italian cookery that I first read of this dish. As she put it, those who love garlic will love it; those who do not will abominate it.

Well, as I make it, it is of the simplest - and the strongest! - with only four ingredients: a handful of whatever pasta I have available (the cupboard being bare, it's been some macaroni lately), cooked up in some salted water (salt stops it sticking, my sister told me), to which is added, after it is al dente and drained, another sprinkle of salt, plus some chopped garlic sautéed in olive oil. I would use three or four cloves of garlic just for myself! (Watch out, world.)

The (super) garlic-infused oil coats the pasta, the salt gives it that lip-smacking quality, the little bits of garlic provide contrast (I think I overfried them this last time - they should be only gently heated through, not crispy), and it tastes great.

(Some will add pepper - otherwise a favourite condiment to me - and/or chilli flakes, even cheese and some tomatoes, but I prefer the wholly garlicky goodness of the most basic form.)

If you think this is perhaps a flavour overload, tell that to the Koreans - the average Korean eats seven heads of garlic per week!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This would be great with fresh pasta. I would probably add black pepper - always goes well with pasta.

Rob A