As promised I am sharing the first 2015 recipe. I have thought long and hard about this. Which recipe should I start with? There are so many. I finally narrowed it down to the sauces. We made more than 50 sauces throughout the years in “the restaurant”. I am going to start with the most basic of all the sauces that is often used as the base of many of the other sauces. The following sauce is very simple yet difficult to achieve perfection. Allow me to introduce our first recipe for 2015….Spaghetti Garlic and Oil or as we would say Spaghetti Aglio e Olio! Just 5 ingredients – extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, parsley and red pepper flakes. But I am going to share the secrets to getting it perfect. Garlic is the most important ingredient and should be treated with the utmost care. First it has to be fresh! (Do not use the chopped garlic that comes packed in oil.) When picking out the fresh garlic you will have the option of choosing between American garlic or Chinese garlic. Most of the American fresh garlic is from California. It is the best. You can tell the difference because California garlic still has it roots and stems. It is much more dense and heavy. The American garlic flavor far surpasses the garlic from china.
After peeling the garlic you need to choose whether to chop, slice or crush the garlic. Garlic contains a sulfur compound. The more you chop and crush the garlic the more sulfur compound is released. (Imagine all the sulfur smell trapped in one of those jars of chopped garlic packed in oil! That’s why fresh garlic is best!) Depending on how intense of a flavor you want in your cooking will lead you to your preference of chopping, crushing, or slicing. “The restaurant” recipe for Aglio e Olio was to get a sweet mellow taste to the sauce. So we thinly sliced our American garlic. We put the sliced garlic in a small skillet with the extra virgin olive over medium heat. Carefully watching the garlic until it reached a golden color, we then added the chopped Italian parsley taking the skillet off the burner. ( Make sure the parsley is the flat leafed italian parsley. Curly parsley has no flavor.) This is another secret that most people don’t know about. Throwing the chopped parsley in the skillet just as the garlic turns golden will stop the cooking process keeping the garlic from turning into the dreaded dark brown color. (Turn off burner taking the skillet off the burner) The dark roasted garlic has a bitter burnt flavor that will ruin the sauce! After the parsley add red pepper flakes and salt. Now it’s all set for you to either pour over the pasta or you can add the drained pasta to the skillet to coat it. If you prefer it to be extra moist you can add a ladle of starchy pasta water.
Aglio e Olio
Served over 1 lb of pasta
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 medium cloves of garlic thinly sliced
1 tsp of salt
2 Tbs of chopped fresh Italian parsley
Red pepper flakes
Sauté thinly sliced garlic in extra virgin olive oil until golden yellow.
Take it off the burner and add chopped parsley followed by adding red pepper flakes to taste (we just added a pinch) and 1 tsp of salt.
Add this to your choice of pasta aldente. Some like to add some pasta water to the sauce. But I prefer it with just oil. That’s the way we always served it in my family.
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