Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pasta All'Aglio e Olio

I've made this classic Roman dish, many times, from different cooks' recipes (but really, this is a simple pasta, so there's not a whole lot of difference how it's done). This time I thought I'd try Mark Bittman's Linguine with Garlic and Oil, from his book How to Cook Everything (a Christmas gift), and use his Fresh Herb variation. Here's his recipe which includes some of the variations, but not the one I chose, so here's the Fresh Herb variation: (from the book)

[you skip the parsley in the basic recipe, and] "When the garlic is done, toss in a mixture of 1 cup or more fresh herbs, whatever you have on hand.... The mixture will absorb all the oil, so, ... when you toss it with the pasta, be sure to add more oil or some of the pasta-cooking water. Garnish with more chopped herbs."

cook's notes:

- My olive oil of choice for this dish was a nice Spanish (shh!) one.

- I threw in a generous shake of hot pepper flakes. We love our food good and spicy. You can add as much or as little as you'd like.

- I chopped a scant cup of: basil, sage, oregano and thyme. About half was basil, with a tablespoon or so of each of the others. I didn't have time to chop any more herbs or I would have used a bit more, and would have saved some for garnish.

- My pasta was done just a few minutes before my oil+herbs so I stirred in some olive oil and some of the pasta water.

- Just before tossing the pasta into the oil and herbs, I added in some pre-toasted pine nuts (I keep these in my freezer). I contemplated adding some bacon lardons (I also keep these in my freezer) but decided that would be overkill. If you add untoasted pine nuts, put them in the pan and toast them before cooking the garlic.

- This recipe works with any pasta shape. I had some that I was dying to use, and this recipe was a perfect vehicle for it.

the verdict:

This was a really good weeknight dinner for us, combined with an arugula, tomato and parmesan salad. It would have been good with even more herbs, but I ran out of time to strip and chop them. The pine nuts were a great addition and the bacon a good omission.

Since blog cooking roundups seem to work for me, I'm going to try something new, and submit this dish to Presto Pasta Nights. This week's host is Ivy of Kopiaste. I've got to thank the creator of PPN, Ruth of Once Upon a Feast, who makes it all happen! To see some fantastic pasta dishes, hop over to Ivy's blog on Friday and view this week's Roundup.

21 comments:

Di said...

Ooh, that looks good. I can tell it's lunch time... =) The pine nuts are a nice touch.

Marthe said...

This looks delicious! I love garlic and I love pasta, but I LOVE pasta with garlic!!

Jessica said...

This used to be my sister's #1 favorite thing to eat when she was little but we never had it with the fresh herbs. I can't wait to try this version -- it looks fantastic!

dharmagirl said...

looks delicious! i've been enjoying mark bittman's *how to cook everything vegetarian* lately--last year's christmas gift. did you read his column in the ny times about pantry essentials?!? it's inspired me to cook 2 pots full of dried beans this weekend.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/dining/07mini.html?em

Mary Ann said...

I am obsessed with fresh herbs. They really enhance any dish. This pasta looks really great and simple is always perfect for a weeknight!

Natashya said...

I love Mark Bittman's books too.
Your pasta looks wonderful - I agree with the pepper flakes - you can never be too spicy!

Audrey said...

Nancy, this is definitely going on the quick weeknight meals to-do list! Being gardenless, I'm often tempted to buy fresh herbs on weekend shopping trips and then I scramble to find enough things to do with them! I also want to check out Mark Bittman's books...thanks for the great idea(s)!

The Blonde Duck said...

I love these good simple meals. And that salmon looks great!

Ruth Daniels said...

It does look delicious and is one of my favorite dishes to make when I'm too frazzled to think. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. Hope to see you back often.

Kristin said...

I got the new How To Cook Everything for Christmas too! I will absolutely be trying this - thank you for the great review. I'm anxious to read his new book Food Matters.

Cathy said...

This looks GREAT. This is exactly the kind of recipe I need during the week. Bittman's cookbook is one of my favorites -- I reach for it time and time again. His focus is consistently on simple preparation of the best ingredients. This pasta group sounds great, too! Somehow I've not come across that one before - with as much pasta as we eat, it's definitely one I'll need to check out.

BTW, I checked our Whole Foods today -- no SAF. So I ordered it from Amazon. I threw in a Tyler Florence cookbook while I was there. Shh!

mikky said...

this looks so delicious... simple, yet full of flavor... thanks for sharing... :)

TeaLady said...

This pasta looks wonderful. I wonder how it would be with just a little chopped sun dried tomato. Probably add more color than anything else. (And maybe with some toasted tomato bread....) Thanks for coming by.

Julie said...

I love the combination used there...I can almost smell the garlic.

Pam said...

This looks and sounds like the perfect pasta dish. Delicious.

Madam Chow said...

I love this dish. I grew up eating this, but didn't know the "official" name until I watched the movie, "Kindergarten Cop."

Reeni♥ said...

I make a similar dish all the time without the pine nuts. It's so delicious! It's my go-to meal when I haven't planned ahead!

pinkstripes said...

I love Mark Bittman. Did you get the updated version? How do you like it? I've been debating whether to get it or not. I have both the original and the vegetarian one.

The pasta looks delicious and I love the addition of pine nuts.

Sweet Charity said...

I too have made this or versions of it about a million times. It never gets old. My favorite version is one that would combine this pasta dish with the tomato, arugula and parmesan salad you ate it with... love, love wilted arugula and warm tomatoes!

Mary said...

A wonderful version of an old standy.

tigerfish said...

Sounds easy. Love the light taste.