Monday, August 1, 2011

Pasta Aglio e Olio

My mom used to make something similar to this dish (with spaghetti) all the time when we were kids. Since none of us spoke Italian at the time, we pronounced it as one long word "spaghetti-al-le-olio" in about as American an accent as you can muster. I loved it. But then one day my sister and mom happened to eat this for dinner and then happened to be sick later in the evening...and we never ate it again.

So here's to the return of spaghetti-al-le-olio!
I love this dish for its simplicity--it's nothing terribly fancy. I wouldn't serve it to my husband's boss (if he had one), but I would make it on a weeknight when I needed something fast and good-tasting. It can stand alone or as a side along with this or this or something similar. You can make it with spaghetti, like my mom did, or with shells or spirals or whatever shape you happen to have (except I feel like elbow pasta might be a little weird for some reason). Whatever you do, make sure it has plenty of garlic (aglio) and olive oil (olio), as those are the two star ingredients!

Pasta Aglio e Olio
Recipe by Kelly
Pictures by Kelly

1/2 pound (1/2 box) shell pasta
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
3 broccoli crowns, chopped into smaller florets (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
juice of 1/2 of one lemon
1/4 cup water, reserved from pasta
grated cheese Parmesan cheese
  1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Cook pasta according to directions on the box.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and saute about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute about 4 minutes, until garlic begins to turn golden, but does not burn. Add broccoli, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) and saute just until broccoli is tender.
  3. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta liquid. Combine pasta and vegetables. Add lemon juice and half of the pasta liquid (add more liquid if pasta is too dry). Sprinkle with grated cheese and serve.

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