Saturday, April 17, 2010

Surprising Pasta

{ photo credit Daniel*1977 }

Most kids eat pasta. It's a staple in our house because, my husband wishes he was Italian and it's one of the phew meals my daughter will eat. So why the title "Surprising"? Well because it will surprise most people that my kids, don't eat red sauce. They will, it has taken years to get them to try it and eat it. We also have to call it pink sauce and mix it with lots (I mean LOTS so it turns pink) Parmesan cheese. So what o they eat, if pasta is a staple in our weekly menu? Alfredo, they LOVE Alfredo. But their favorite is Aglio e Olio, which is just an oil and garlic sauce.

The recipe we use comes from Classic Pasta Cookbook. It's a great book and we use it a lot, sadly it's out of print. However I owe a Twitter friend the recipe, so I thought I would share it with everyone.

Aglio E Olio

For 1lb dried, store bought pasta (we are very loyal to Barilla)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp (about 4 cloves) finely chopped garlic (we use more, about 6 cloves)
1 Tb finely chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley (we use more, closer to 1/4cup)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (we use less, just a sprinkle, for the kids and hubs and I add it to our bowls)

We also add Parmesan cheese on top, because really, who can eat pasta without cheese?

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan or pot. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pas the pasta, stirring until strands are submerged.
  2. Put the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. When the garlic begins to change color (this happens in a minute, maybe two, do not walk away! We have burned lots of garlic and ruined dinner many times), add the parsley, red pepper flakes and some salt. Stir well and remove from heat.
  3. When the pasta is cooked al dente, return the skillet with the sauce to a low heat, drain the pasta and add it to the skillet (we do it the opposite way b/c our skillet isn't big enough). Toss until the pasta is well coated with the sauce, correct salt and spiciness and serve at once.

Now another big surprise we had this week involved pasta. I LOVE parsley pesto. It says Spring to me and tastes so fresh. I also learned when I was having a horrible (hives everywhere) allergic reaction to a spider bite that parsley is also a natural antihistamine. So when I am sick (which I have been this week) I always crave either Aglio e olio with extra parsley or pesto. Now my son almost always eats, green is his favorite color. My daughter usually turns up her nose at anything that is not the above mentioned noodles or mackyroni. She ate the whole bowl! THE WHOLE BOWL of green pasta!

It was a seriously exciting night in our house. We implement a very strict dinner policy. We make one dinner. You are encouraged to try it, but you don't have to eat it. You have to be quiet and respectful to those who are eating it and if you can't you can go to bed. So I would say three out of every four dinners my daughter just sits with us and drinks milk. I have been called strict, and cruel, but this works for us. She eats two other meals everyday and is healthy and growing. So this was validation for our efforts. She didn't want to eat it, she pushed it away and made a face, we ignored and she FINISHED THE WHOLE BOWL

So to celebrate, here is the recipe, it's from Patricia Wells' Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy.

Pungent Parsley Sauce

The recipe says this can be used on hot pasta, bread, or used as a dip. We pretty much stick to pasta around here. this makes 1 cup of sauce or enough for 1 pound of pasta.

3 to 5 plump fresh garlic cloves (to taste), degermed and minced
1/2 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
6 flat anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained and minced *
3 cups loosely packed fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  1. Place the minced garlic, salt and anchovies in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Add the parsley and pulse 2 to 3 times or until the sauce is homogeneous. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. With the machine running, add the lemon juice and then the olive oil in a slow steady stream.
  4. Taste for seasoning. Do not prepare more than 1 hour in advance, the longer the sauce sits the anchovy flavor quickly overpowers the fresh parsley.

* I know, I know! I don't like them either, but seriously you don't taste or see them. I promise! You can find them in the Italian section at most supermarkets.

** I was not compensated for mentioning Barilla, it's just our favorite pasta. The links to the cookbooks are affiliated links, which means if you click it, I may get a penny 10 years down the line. Thanks!


Adrienne said...

thanks for sharing that garlic olive oil suace sounds wonderful =)

paige said...

Yummy! We love past around here.