Monday, September 13, 2010

Pasta Aglio e Olio

I've been having a hard time coming up with a week's menu lately. I'm not quite sure why. Periodically this happens though. I feel like cooking nothing and am very uninspired. Last week, this was the case. To illustrate the severity of this, let me tell you about our Labor Day weekend meals. Of the 6 meals we ate (3 lunches and 3 suppers--breakfasts aren't included), 4 of those meals consisted of sandwiches of some sort---salami and cheddar, almond butter and jelly, or roasted eggplant and arugula. Another meal, Curtis cooked steaks and sweet potatoes on The Egg. Yet another, we went to someone else's house for a cookout. That sums it up. I arugula and stone fruit salad and sweet potato biscuits and that was it for 6 meals. Sad, I know.

Now that that confession is out of the way, you understand when I said I've been uninspired. I was pleased to find this recipe that used locally sourced ingredients---Texas extra virgin olive oil and basil and garlic from our CSA (I could have splurged on locally made pasta, but didn't, story of my week). This was the best version of this recipe I've found. Simple, yet very delicious. So much so, that the usual 1/2 lb of pasta I made for our family didn't go nearly far enough.

A full recipe will probably serve 4 - 5 people.

Pasta Aglio e Olio
adapted from Whole Foods

1 lb spaghetti or other long thin pasta (we used linguini)
5 T extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 c fresh parsley or basil, chopped
1/2 c grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/3 c of pasta cooking water, then drain well.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to lightly brown. Watch carefully so garlic does not burn. Add the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water to the garlic and oil. Add all but 1 T of the basil, half of the cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and toss well. Transfer to serving bowl and top with remaining basil and cheese. Serve immediately.

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