February 21, 2011

... Linguine with Garlic and Oil

I think I've mentioned how much I love Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything cookbook once or twice, yes?  Well, imagine my delight when I discovered that he has an app!  iPhone users, iPad users, app-getters rejoice!  It's absolutely my favorite app to date and, yes, I have Angry Birds.  You can browse recipes, make a shopping list, check out variations, it's fantastic.  No, really...  you should get it.  

Just like everything else I've tried of his, this recipe didn't disappoint.  As you may know, I'm not a big lover of tomato sauce so I'm always up for any pasta that has a lighter sauce.  And, as a special bonus, it works for Meatless Monday!

These fresh, bright green herbs pair perfectly with garlic-infused olive oil with a shake or two of red pepper flakes for an extra kick.

In my book, pasta isn't pasta without fresh grated Parmesan... thank goodness dairy-free week is over!

Still in moderation, though, and a little Parm goes a long way.  Sprinkle it over the hot pasta and serve it with multi-grain bread fresh from the oven (even if it's straight from a store-bought bag into the oven).  Hey, it's a weeknight, what do you expect?

Linguine with Garlic and Oil
serves 4

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
2 tablespoons minced garlic
hot red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
1 pound long, thin pasta like linguine or spaghetti
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.  Put the oil, garlic, the pepper flakes if you're using them, and a pinch of salt in a small skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat.  Let the garlic sizzle a bit, shaking the pan occasionally, just until it turns golden, about 3 minutes.  Turn off the heat if the pasta isn't ready.

Cook the pasta until it is tender but not mushy.  When it is done, drain it, reserving a bit of the cooking water.  Reheat the garlic and oil mixture briefly if necessary.  Dress the pasta with the sauce, adding a little more oil or some of the cooking water if it seems dry.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, then toss with the parsley if you're using it.

Taylor's Notes:
I took Mark's variation of adding fresh herbs.  He notes to use about 1 cup of whatever fresh herbs you choose.  I used about 3/4 cup of fresh parsley and less than a cup each of basil, oregano, and chives.  I'm guessing that I had more than one cup total, but it just adds to the flavor of the pasta.  Add the herbs to the oil mixture after it is done.  The herbs will soak up most of the oil, so you'll definitely want to add more to the pasta when you dress it.  I also toasted some pine nuts and added those to the pasta for a little crunch.


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