Monday, September 27, 2010
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Spaghetti with garlic and Oil)
(Spaghetti with garlic and Oil)
The sauce, Aglio E Olio, for this dish becomes the “mother sauce” (the basis) for the Puttanesca sauce, it is also the first sauce my mother taught me. It is deceptively simple; garlic and extra-virgin olive oil with just enough red pepper to wake up your taste buds. If you try the options you'll find that the Alice (Ah-leach, Italian for anchovy) completely dissolves during cooking leaving behind a nutty, salty (not fishy) taste and the inclusion of a beaten egg imbues the dish with a richness (many people leave the raw egg out for fear of salmonella but I've eaten Aglio E Olio this way all my life without any negative consequences) .
1 pound Spaghetti, cooked al dente
1/2-cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 flat anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
6-10 cloves garlic
1/2-teaspoon red pepper flake, or to taste (optional)
1/4 cup flat leaved Italian parsley, chopped
3 large sweet Italian Basil leaves, chiffonade
1 egg, well beaten
Grated cheese (Parmesan or Romano)
1. About an hour before starting the Aglio e Olio sauce place the olive oil in a small bowl, micro-plane 2 or 3 of the garlic cloves, and place the red pepper flakes into it. Set the bowl aside on your counter and allow the oil to infuse with the flavour of the garlic and the heat of the red pepper flakes.
2. After the oil has had time to infuse and in a small saucepan heat the infused oil, the micro-planed garlic, the red pepper flakes, and butter together over very low heat.
3. Finely chop the remaining garlic.
4. Add the infused oil and butter mixture to a large sauté pan (large enough to hold the volume of cooked spaghetti) over medium heat, add the chopped garlic and sauté it until it is soft and translucent (DO NOT allow the garlic to brown!)
5. Meanwhile, bring a large volume of salted water to a rapid boil over high heat.
6. Lower the heat under the sauté pan to medium-low, add the Alice (anchovies) and cook until the fish is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
7. When the water comes to a rapid boil, toss in the spaghetti and cook until the spaghetti is cooked al dente.
8. Drain the spaghetti and toss the cooked pasta with the sauce in the sauté pan. Sprinkle the Aglio e Olio with the parsley and toss to distribute the chopped parsley into the cooked pasta.
9. Optional step: If you're going to add the beaten egg; while it's still hot pour the spaghetti and sauce into a large spaghetti bowl (large enough to hold all the past and sauce) and while pouring the beaten egg over the pasta with one hand toss the pasta, using a pair of tongs in the other, to distribute the egg throughout it; the hot pasta and sauce should cook the egg.
10. Serve immediately topped by grated cheese and the chiffonade basil accompanied by crusty Italian or French bread and extra grated cheese and red pepper flakes.